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South Sudan’s president accused of behaving like "tribal chief"


October 20, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, has been accused of behaving like a tribal chief, dividing the people of the nation on tribal lines and emotionally defending his community, the Dinka.

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South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir, seen in Addis Ababa on January 29, 2015 (Photo AFP Zacharias Abubeker)

This came after comments uttered by the President as he was addressing officials of his faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the Freedom Hall in Juba during the party’s registration on Wednesday.

President Kiir challenged Equatorian leaders in his government for not reigning in their Equatorian “people” who are currently rebelling against his government, adding that Riek Machar, his former deputy, an ethnic Nuer, has also taken his “Nuer people” with him.

The South Sudanese president made the comments in reaction to increasing rebellion against his government and the ongoing killings on roads targeting members of his ethnic group, the Dinka, in Equatoria region.

“Leaders of Equatoria, you have all the ability to stop all this nonsense on the roads. Because if you are in the government, there is no way that your people can go against the government you are in,” he said.

Responding to accusations that his army is a tribal army of the Dinka ethnic group from where he hails, President Kiir said it was not his fault and he had no choice because other tribes had allegedly deserted him.

“But where will I get people from if people of Equatoria have refused to join the army? Riek Machar has rebelled with his Nuer people,” he said.

The president complained against the lack of support from Equatorians and the Nuer tribe in the presence of his two deputies, Taban Deng Gai, and James Wani Igga, who hail from the Nuer tribe in Upper Nile region and from Bari tribe in Equatoria region, respectively.

The president also warned that he will personally command the war against armed elements causing insecurity in Equatoria region, saying he may relocate to Yei town and direct attacks against the local armed forces on the ground.

But the armed faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) led by Riek Machar said the comments confirmed that President Kiir had been behaving like a tribal leader and incited further violence against other tribes in the country.

“Such comments carrying negative tribal connotations and coming out from the lips of the President are an incitement for further tribal divisions and targeted killings in the country,” said James Gatdet Dak, official spokesperson for Riek Machar, leader of the SPLM-IO.

“The remarks have confirmed that President Kiir has always behaved like a tribal chief and has forgotten that he leads a nation of over 63 other tribes who elected him in 2010,” he told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

He also said the remarks are an admission indicating that the president has lost support from the other tribes in the country.

The opposition leader’s spokesman said the President did not develop such emotions when his government’s forces targeted and killed members of other tribes, including unleashing his armed tribal militias of “Mathiang Anyoor and Dot Ku Beny” for the past three years who allegedly targeted and massacred thousands of innocent civilians from other tribes in Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazal regions, including in Juba.

Dak however said the opposition faction of the SPLM-IO condemned all sorts of targeted killings against innocent civilians no matter from which tribe they come, adding the president should not have been emotionally protective about one tribe he happens to come from.

He also lamented that it was unfortunate the president publicly declared he would personally direct violence against Equatorians, saying this was a message “indirectly” telling his armed tribal militias and armed forces to target the Equatorian civilians for revenge.

Fighting has escalated in Equatoria region as local youths have been reportedly joining the armed opposition faction against the government in several locations.

Civilians, mainly from the Dinka ethnic group, have been allegedly targeted on Juba-Yei and Juba-Nimule roads, recently with dozens reportedly killed.


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  • 20 October 2016 22:39, by Mr Point

    Unfortunately Kiir has been put in a job he does not understand well enough to do well.

    He should unite the countries many different groups. Instead he splits the groups and divides the county into 28 or 30 parts without discussion, without a plan.

    He spends the country wealth on arms instead of education or health.

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  • 21 October 2016 00:49, by Naath


    Thanks for saying Kiir. As I said earlier before Gatdet posted this article that we South Sudanese we can no longer honor Kiir with the title "President" because has proved beyond doubt that he is not a president of South Sudan tribal chief. Kiir demoted himself from president to tribal chief. He is the smartest Dinka but he is the most foolish leader on the planet.

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    • 21 October 2016 07:14, by Akuma

      Naath & Point,

      After President Kiir live power, no one else that you will found like him in South Sudan who have peaceful heart of nation. Riek Machar and his alike the one behave like tribal chief because they mobilize militias to be in ranks of SPLA-IO forces whom they have work for. Pres. Kiir has a true legacy rather than Riek is a murderer of all events

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      • 21 October 2016 07:48, by Junubi

        Dear Akuma,
        That is only ward i can take from you because after the president Kiir live the power, no one will be found like him in term of stupidity, Tribalism, Robbery, Looting of Country properties.President who does not needs his Country to be in Peace for his personal interest.

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        • 21 October 2016 08:35, by Akuma


          All South Sudanese tribes including you are stupid, tribal, robbery, looters not Dinka tribe alone. If all South Sudan government officials including Wani, Taban, Mamur, Cirilo, Gore and others officials who are working in gov’t then be it

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      • 21 October 2016 07:52, by Whortti Bor Manza

        Akuma, your defense for Kiir is illogical. The Dinka all along have been unleashing utmost savagery on inocent civilians without a single rebuke or condemnation from Dinkas. It was wrong to allow Kiir to succeed Garang because of his track record of tribalism. Kiir is a callous, brutal, murderous, unforgivable and solitary person. Prove any military operation undertaken by Kiir successful since.

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        • 21 October 2016 08:31, by Akuma


          South Sudanese people can’t allow traitors who collaborate with Arabs and killed South Sudanese during struggle for Independent to assume Garang’s position after his death. President Kiir is a right man at the right time. So follow your Riek Machar and we will see will you be with him.

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          • 21 October 2016 09:19, by Active man

            Akuma Kiir rebelled against Garang in 2004 and it was Machar who reconcile them, when he went to Yei with Malik Agar to convince Kiir" u know that, Riek split in 1991 was anticipation find solutions of the conflicts known as self determination that let to our independent in 2011. So no one hasn’t rebel we all know the historic of the movement" who joined first n the ones followed others, u are awa

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      • 21 October 2016 08:17, by Mopedi

        Sukuma, do not deny peace because u hate Dr. Riek as being from Nuer tribe,Riek is a living hero who want to use his communication to turn his enemy to friendships with whom they can fight the problem confronting SS. so South Sudanese should not refuse peace because of him after all every body can be a president in peace.

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      • 21 October 2016 09:04, by Midit Mitot

        I hope you will prove me right this time, read the president speeches very well, Kiir is completely Dinka Chief, I told you.

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        • 21 October 2016 14:17, by Akuma


          Yes bro, I agree with you on President Speech, but where do you think Soldiers can come from? Other tribes connived with Arabs and killed Dinka in towns especially in Juba, Malakal, Khartoums, Wau, and other major towns in Sudan and Southern Sudan then. So don’t claims something you never participate in.

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      • 21 October 2016 11:17, by White Nation

        You see the stupidity of Kiir, he just talk like a child while himself and his government’s forces targeted and killed members of other tribes, including his armed tribal militias of “Mathiang Anyoor and Dot Ku Beny” in targeted and massacred thousands of innocent civilians from other tribes in Upper Nile,Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal region and inside Juba and always say unknown guns men.

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        • 21 October 2016 12:30, by Hardlinner

          white nation, please quit your lies only 500 nuer civilians got killed in juba by rogue groups. but do admit that riek ordered killing of 30,000 bor civilians in 1991 and another 70,000 died as consequences of his war. with regard to equatorians, non of their people have been killed by government soldiers. so question is, why do some equatorians attacked dinka civilians without provocation?.

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    • 21 October 2016 12:11, by Hardlinner

      Naath, does being president of nation allow other groups to target the members president tribe unlawfully?. those equatorian thugs are different from equatorian civilians and must be dealt with by all mean. i don’t support killing of any civilians whether be it nuer, dinka or equatorians. there are no rebels in equatoria but bunches of tribal thugs.

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    • 21 October 2016 14:24, by Mapuor

      Fellow Nyagats, you were Jallaba militias during the whole period of liberation yet president Kiir accepted you into his government. Do you know the composition of the SPLA during the liberation war ? 99.9% of the SPLA forcers were Dinkas but after the peace Nyagats came in in thousands and formed 75% of the SPLA.

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    • 21 October 2016 20:40, by Akeen Mangarthon


      So you admitted today that Sudan Tribune is a rebels media that commonly post news of mr. propaganda specialist James Gadet Dak.Who will again accept that ST report credible information.

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  • 21 October 2016 00:52, by Naath


    Thanks for saying Kiir. As I said earlier before Gatdet posted this article that we South Sudanese we can no longer honor Kiir with the title "President" because has proved beyond doubt that he is not a president of South Sudan but the tribal chief. Kiir demoted himself from president to tribal chief. He is the smartest Dinka but he is the most foolish leader on the planet.

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    • 21 October 2016 09:01, by BM-21

      It will take time for Junubin to get a leader like President Kiir, man of peace, man with vision, man with love of Country men/women, Kiir will step aside but S.Sudanese will regret like Libyan of Mohamed Gadafi.

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    • 21 October 2016 09:05, by BM-21

      Mr. Point, Naath, Mopedi and other supporters of Riak Machar, please the different between Kiir and Riak is riak is known by killing Junubin and kiir is known by his peaceful leadership.

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      • 21 October 2016 09:57, by Mopedi

        MB-21,There is no need to live a life without freedom. if we want peace let’s not focus on personality. let’s look at Country which is greater than all of us Salva has used his Power to kills and impoverishes life of the rest of tribesmen, enslaving others and enriching his tribesmen, are u free now? MB-21 or u given token to feed on? my country and its land is above me generation comes and go

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      • 21 October 2016 10:09, by Mopedi

        Dear S,Sudanese we are seeking for Liberal democracy with established institutionalisation of human rights whi is the most practical solution to the freedom of each being compatible with the freedom of all South Sudanese.
        Many scholars said that Democratisation which is the most practical and empirically proven solution to war and democide ongoing in this country. we shouldn,t sit back with solut

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  • 21 October 2016 02:16, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    All along we have said Kiir has been busy building a Jieng dynasty in South Sudan. Now he has pronounced it himself. It should be time for James Wani Igga, Mamur, Cirrilo and Jadalla to re think their support to this Equatorian murderer. Abraham Wana sensed it earlier and he is now with the people. So people go back to your roots.

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  • 21 October 2016 04:19, by Augustino

    What are the Equatoria leaders you mentioned doing in the government? I beleive in Nuer Leaders whose leadership now is being shown by Tut and Taban plus governors and generals in the army now. Words of President are correct if Equatorian governors fail to command and control rebellions in their areas, who else do you thing will do it? How long will keep seeing people being kill and keep quiet.

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    • 21 October 2016 07:08, by fear only God

      you praises governor like David Lokonga that call mathianganyor to slaughter POJULU

      like Nartisio Loluke of imaging state who did the same

      it is you and your Chief kiir that advocated for the insurgency in the country by killing non Dinkas and no one condemn ....so why are you now crying on what you created your for your selves?

      continue inciting tribalism and you are going to get it

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    • 21 October 2016 08:31, by Mopedi

      Augustion, this is the evidence we equatorian waiting from the president without portfolio, Kiir. So we hold the truths to be self-evidence,that all men are created by their God Equal when Kiir men committed democide and genocide he was quiet. as a presedent, he should not have been close to the angles of devils,JCE, Malong and Wani who made him mentally ill

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    • 21 October 2016 12:22, by Hardlinner

      augustino, equatorian governors should take example of other tribes living in dinka states. equatorians, Nuer and others r living in dinka states in peace. why can’t people of yei river state and madi control their thugs that run wild killing innocern local accidentally and targeting dinka civilians. direct your attack at the government soldiers not civilians that hv nothing in gov. affairs.

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  • 21 October 2016 04:28, by Augustino

    Words of President are wrongly translated by Sudan Tribune which is fighting along side Gatdate Dak and Riek Machar, in Dinka when a father BLAME his child of a mistake made will not be taken as a side taken by the father, President remark is not supporting Dinka but telling Dinka to leave the issue to him and his government, he is helping Equatorians in wise way by taking issues in his own hands.

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    • 21 October 2016 08:46, by Mopedi

      Why should Kiir look for peace from Rusia,China,USA and Uganda while CPA gave him peace in his house SS?.what peace is he looking for if not for Dinkas? Instead, these powerful nations gave him conflict in expenses of peace.because of his response-ability he could n,t think around his environment. let SS discuss and bring u peace. NOT JMEC,NOT TROIKA, NOT USA NOR CHINA OR RUSIA TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY

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  • 21 October 2016 05:48, by Eastern

    I don’t remember the last time I used the word "president" in reference to Kiir. This man is not cut for that office of the president so to begin with. By appointing two assistance from Equatoria and Upper Nile regions, Kiir thinks he can appease "tribes" in those area. Kiir and cohorts should understand that in Equatoria, we don’t follow tribal leaders but we follow the Equatorian ideology!

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    • 21 October 2016 12:39, by Hardlinner

      i think it better if government handle the situation than allowing dinka civilians to take the laws into their own hands. some idiots on this board won’t understand that. do you people think that gelweng can’t go to equatoria and disarmed the rogue equatorian thugs that attack innocent dinka civilians?.

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  • 21 October 2016 05:54, by Eastern

    Equatorians have neither followed Wani Iga nor Alfred Ladu Gore. Equatorians are persuing what is good for them. Equatoria is beyond any tribe. The Equatoria brand has shown the rest of South Sudanese what is important is the unity of purpose but not how big your tribe is. You may be numbering in zillions but internal squabbling will be your undoing. Viva Equatoria, viva!!!

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  • 21 October 2016 06:09, by Tilo

    Mr. Kiir allowed Jiang to have more input in to country’s affairs that is why the war broke out in 2013, Yes we all know jiang council of elders is for the benefit of Dinka community, therefore jiang should stay out of politics otherwise they are the very people inciting all the insecurity by giving wrong ideas to Kiir.

    Kiir please distant yourself from jiang council if you need peace in S. Sudan

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  • 21 October 2016 06:20, by Tilo

    Dinka is now less in number because most of them are in the military and they are dying in every part of the country in fighting furthermore they are not producing as they use to those day. The next generation is going to luck youth and young kids in SS, Now you even rarely see pregnant woman in the country as people are starving. this is a big blow to South Sudan.

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    • 21 October 2016 07:17, by Akuma


      Are you out of your sense boy? Dinka and other tribes who love South Sudan will fight all your ass to death.

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    • 21 October 2016 09:46, by Wani khooto

      I think you only see Dinka in towns and you think that is the whole Dinka, my man, I need us equatorian to travel and tour Dinka land and see who they are real, bro these people are so many to be sincere, I worked in Bor-land, Aweil, Tony, Warrap, Rumbek and Malakal, majority don,t even know what is going on in Juba.Kiir and Machar problems.sometime we need to coorporate and stop wars

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      • 21 October 2016 12:49, by Hardlinner

        wani, you are right, tell equatorians and Nuer that Dinka more than them combined in term population. majority of them that have nothing to do with government jobs or services do not even know whether there is war on other sides.

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  • 21 October 2016 07:39, by Tilo

    Akuma / Beng

    Please read president Kiir article, He said most of his solders are from dinka tribe (matiang Anyor) whatever!
    Currently there is fighting in every part of the country and he is losing his soldiers in the fighting please tell me "which tribe is the most dying?" Furthermore people are dying of famine in jiang
    Kindly do your arithmetic’s and share your findings
    simple home work buddy

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    • 21 October 2016 10:00, by Wani khooto

      I joined SPLA in 1987 with many guys from eastern Equatoria but when we reached Itang for training what I saw, I thought that there was no Dinka left in their villages but when I came to Panyangoor in 1990 I was surprised again but getting to Bhar el ghazal. rem 90% of those who die during 21 yrs where all Dinka I witnessed that.let not cause war and run to Uganda tomorrow. I warned cyber warriors and let learn a lesson from Nuer.

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  • 21 October 2016 08:12, by TRUE WATCHDOG

    The statement by president doesn’t pertain any violence unless people are eager of creating unnecessary situation which may divide nation and count it as president’s failure.I believe that a leader is someone with influence to his/her people of which the leader must convince his/her people not to go astray.If those’re in gov’t and their people don’t have loyalty to gov’t then what’s it?

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  • 21 October 2016 08:19, by TRUE WATCHDOG

    President Kiir is not wrong and not tribally mentally obsessed. He’s instead reproached his team of whose people commit inhuman crimes which may be recorded as government in which they’re serving failure.I remember two days ago article in this forum about directives president gave governors to prevent targeted and revenge killings in their respective states.This article of today is contradictory.

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    • 21 October 2016 09:01, by Mopedi

      You are truly watchdog, because dogs has a social skill deficit. If a government causes deaths through a reckless and depraved indifference to human life, the deaths were as though intended,If the rest of 63 tribes remains with this Government,Then Mathiang Anyoor,JCE will slaughter them helplessly. wake up the 63 tribes war is at every doors now Kiir hails peace but in hail blood.

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      • 21 October 2016 13:01, by Hardlinner

        mopedi, remember simple facts, dinka and their allies constitutes more than 70% of south Sudan population. also do know that among 63 tribes u mentioned majority in term of population r dinka allies. even nuer you think will fight on your side will not do so becos what directly hurt dinka will also hurt Nuer later. simply stop attacking innocent dinka civilians and every thing will be normal.

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  • 21 October 2016 08:31, by Eastern

    Actually Kiir is worst than a tribal chief because tribal chiefs don’t kill their subjects; Kiirler kills South Sudanese!!

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    • 21 October 2016 09:13, by BM-21

      my dearly Equatorian, let us wait the death. if we don,t stop killing people on the roads connecting to Juba! government will fight us and it will not be Dinka only i am worried with our vulnerable people who are innocent how the will be alive.

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      • 21 October 2016 09:36, by Mopedi

        For how many years have we been killed by Arab and now Dinka? and what is the motives of their killing?.Simply they want to isolate us from larger institution that gives has meaning of lives whether we like or not, the best thing you should do is talk to youths to prepare bows and arrows while guns are soon coming. this mathiang anyoor are looters not fighters can be slaughtered like chikens

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  • 21 October 2016 09:37, by Yokyieen Akot

    My President,
    Goot tueng acie yin ke goot cheen. Goot cheen acie yin ke goot tueng is what these people of Equatoria are doing to your leadership. You need to watch out

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  • 21 October 2016 09:41, by Mopedi

    South Sudan is for us all we must find where our rights belong, beside no one tribe can control/interfere with other tribes pursuit of peace, liberty and development better we die all or they die all. the way Kiir talk tells us that there will be no peace at all in future why should we give him peace when he denied the peace given to him by CPA?

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  • 21 October 2016 11:02, by Black Nation

    Mr. or Miss BM21 Are you understanding your words? take another look at your words coz now your contradicting by saying Kiir is a good leader and a man of peace unlike Riek machar, and you are now again telling Eqoutoria to stop killing people around the road sides if he is a man of peace why people are dying like flies in account of him and you are saying is a man of peace.

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  • 21 October 2016 12:11, by Philosopherking

    As I have always said, Kiir is not the president of South Sudan, but of a tribal council. The current crisis started with the recruitment of his tribal militia. Corruption was fuelled by handing every high profile ministry to his own homeboys. Kirr does not trust any one from other communities. He has destroyed this country just to establish his tribal oppression, marginalisation and murder.

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  • 21 October 2016 12:53, by Mikey Possible

    If Salva Kiir was having some sense of respecting him self and the role he’s in then that could have been better but this Salva kiir head is like a flat tyre which could not enable a car to move. He could not see the suffering the people of South Sudan going through in every corner of this world. Take that presidential title and give it to a Dog because it’s not weathy you keeping it.

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  • 21 October 2016 14:26, by Mapuor

    Fellow Nyagats, you were Jallaba militias during the whole period of liberation yet president Kiir accepted you into his government. Do you know the composition of the SPLA during the liberation war ? 99.9% of the SPLA forcers were Dinkas but after the peace Nyagats came in in thousands and formed 75% of the SPLA.

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  • 21 October 2016 15:19, by hunter boy


    kiir is a cow, he is confused every time. for how long will you be suporting him?. i know you are running after the billion dollars he looted from south sudan. Look at some of your fellow jienges begging on the streets, is that a good thing kiir is doing? ya hawaliik.

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    • 21 October 2016 18:28, by Dinka Aliap Chawul

      Don’t cry yet,this is what your tribal chief Riak has been,preachings, practicing, wishing and at the end he stupidly includes Equatorians, just wait and see the outcome, we have humbly accepted what u were looking for,no body should start running let meets on the battles field,I loves this walai! Because am so fed up.

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