Home | News    Tuesday 28 February 2017

Rebecca Garang criticized over remarks on child soldiers


February 28, 2017 (JUBA) – Rebecca Garang, widow of South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) founder, John Garang has been criticized after she was quoted saying under-age children who fought Sudan’s long civil war followed adult “soldiers for better services like food.”

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Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior (ST File Photo)

In an interview with Al Jazeera UpFront program on Friday, Garang accused South Sudanese President Salva Kiir of allegedly using soldiers from the Dinka tribe to commit atrocities on other ethnic groupings and called on him to step down.

She also rejected a previous Human Rights Watch report, which implicated her husband John Garang for using child soldiers during the over two-decade civil war.

“This was a liberation struggle. We were at war. The country, South Sudan is very vast, is a big country. Dr. John [Garang] tried to command the army. Some small things can happen under his watch but when he hears about it, he has to do something about it,” said Nyandeng.

“It [Human Rights Watch report] was not correct because I am there. I’m a mother and I have my children,” she said.

When pressed about the children among the soldiers, Nyandeng admitted, but justified the presence of the child soldiers as a necessity.

“They children came with their parents and some of them just followed the army because sometimes when they go with the army they can find better services; food and things like that because we were in the bush. Some of the children even leave their parents and they followed the army. There was no official recruitment which was being done,” she said.

She said the children were not given guns and there were no schools for them to attend, an explanation that former child soldiers rejected.

Mading Akueth, a former child soldier in the Red Army, accused Nyandeng of being dishonest.

“Why should I walk all the way to [from Bor in South Sudan to] Ethiopia to get soldiers’ food? Where were soldiers getting a lot of food?,” he wrote on Facebook.

Mading said he was one of thousands of children recruited from Bor villages in 1987 by the SPLA/M leaders led by current Minister of Defense Kuol Manyang Juuk with full knowledge of John Garang. In that 1987 child soldiers recruitment, each village chief contributed three children – in what became known as ‘Buluk ke diar’ – a Dinka connotation of the for the exercise that translates as ‘head chief for three.’

Another former child soldier Naqib Invictus Chuti said they were abused during the liberation and were often called “thieves” by commanders and their families.

“Nyandeng’s comment is a deeply rooted sentiment toward jesh amer that dated back to 1980s; the days they look them on down,” Chuti wrote.

He added that the children were forced to hard labor to generate money that supported SPLM/A leaders’ families – including John Garang rented house in Kenya.

Forpeace Agany, another South Sudanese claimed his brother was among the recruited child soldiers.

“My brother left hundreds of cattle just to look for food? I doubt the mother of the nation,” said Agany Forpeace, in reference to Nyandeng.

Some South Sudanese citizens, however, think Nyandeng was quoted out of context.

“I believe she was talking on general services including shelter, shielded, protection, direction and food as well. I don’t know why people picking up the word food only, instead of services?,” one Panchol Jook wrote.


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  • 28 February 2017 09:43, by Eastern

    Mrs. Garang is being brutally honest here. During Dr. Garang’s SPLA war with the successive Khartoum based regime, everything in the "liberated" areas was for his soldiers of the SPLA: a large portion of humantarian relief food for the civilians was diverted to the multiple "front lines". Mrs. Garang is right, the army was prioritised for food and medicines!!!!!

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    • 28 February 2017 09:47, by Eastern

      Many child soldiers from Nuba mountains and Blue Nile had to survive on wild fruits, lizard, etc for food as a result many died and their corpses eaten by scavengers. Nobody in SPLA/SPLM wants or has the guts to talk about these facts! SPLA/SPLM will want to continue to delude the world that it’s a clean organisation. What a lie!

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    • 28 February 2017 15:04, by Joyuma John

      Ya, jes amer, let us take it easy, Nyandeng was running out of ideas from Al jazera journalist, we went to the bush to serve the nation not because of food as such, SPLA was getting food from our parents not red army was get food from the SPLA . And for it to be very easy, Nyandeng should apologize to red army.

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    • 28 February 2017 19:06, by Paul Ongee

      Mama Rebecca Nyandeng is de lost mother of de nation. Choice of words is always a problem for someone like her who desperately wants to be considered as a senior politician of our lifetime. That is always the problem facing Dr Riek Machar and Dr Lam Akol. They think that it’s easy to imitate de iconic leader and articulate Dr John Garang de Mabior who challenged his peers, academicians n media

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      • 28 February 2017 19:20, by Paul Ongee

        You don’t notice if those of Riek Machar and Lam Akol resort to using violence to achieve political power rather than reinventing themselves politically and be conscious of their political record and leadership qualities. They often believe that holding PhD is everything needed in leadership especially when you command ignorant supporters and followers.

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  • 28 February 2017 09:52, by Kush Natives

    Look how would this an idiot called herself a politician, while bypassing the records keeping? Where in a world could somebody forget that she was the number 1 child soldiers recruiter? Is this really Nyandeng Mabior or is it different one? If Late Dr. Garang hosted 44+ thousands of children from age 0-8 in three different locations in 1986-93, then what kinds of a history that she’s trying__con

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  • 28 February 2017 10:02, by Kush Natives

    ___to make out here? Three locations were full of minors, Tharpaam, Dima and Fugnido camps, all those kids were kidnapped from their parents in few following regions in South Sudan. a) Bhar El Ghazal b) Jonglei c) Western Upper Nile-mainly from Panrieng. If this is what you’re trying (Nyandeng) to cover up, then you’re completely detected, and you will be tried for child abduction!

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  • 28 February 2017 10:12, by Kush Natives

    So, for your unfound allegation, there’s no child soldier in our Army/SPLA. I think you meant White Army whom were just attracted by looting ideals. First, you owed me and the rest of South Sudanese kids who were abducted in 1986-1995! Most of those kids ended up in Kapoita in 1995 offensive. 1,300 boys were taken from Tharpaam base into Equatoria intentionally to be equips and attack Kapoita.

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  • 28 February 2017 12:25, by DHARCHEP

    Nyandeng,you are nothing to South Sudanese.I joined the SPLA/SPLM when I was 9 years old.Does it mean to me that I was following the SPLA because of food? In 1991, Jech Amer fought your boyfriend Riek Machar in Bor.Why you did not complaint bitch? Leave SPLA alone and go back and fuck Riek Machar.You do need a man actually to straight you up. I respect my leader John Garang because he taught me.

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  • 28 February 2017 12:31, by Ater

    I blame the media for glorifying this stupid lady.she is just damn fucking woman who don’t realize her obnoxious move.

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  • 28 February 2017 12:34, by DHARCHEP

    Nyandeng, you are the dump bitch woman I never seen in my life. Who is Riek Machar? When Riek Machar commit massacre in Bor and Mongala, where those people who were killed by Riek Machar from Nuer or from Bor tribe? Nyandeng, I think you bear your children through your ass not through your vagina. If it was your vagina, you should understand the pain when your child was killed

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    • 28 February 2017 15:01, by nuer food lovers

      Dharchep you are the stupid of all, you never even attended a training camp, you just left wichok for tongadol in 1993 shortly after Riek machar defectiion for Kakuma. I know you from your toes to ur hair, we departed when you were leading Adok and I headed to Barh el gazal and end up in Equatoria, Nyandeng dit knows what she is talking of, this question of child soldiers, Garang had been answerin

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      • 28 February 2017 15:09, by nuer food lovers

        Garang demobizise thousand of child soldiers, opening up the camp in Palataka in Eastern Equatoria, Panawach in Rumbek, Moroto or mangalatore in Central Equatoria, and Unicef witness that fact, you guys in western world are totally confuse, pls, stop abusing Nyandeng dit, tell me Mr. Dharchep which traing did you joined? When our parents joined SPLA including ur uncle who brought u up in the absen

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  • 28 February 2017 14:26, by Maguto

    Dear all

    This should not be taken seriously, Nyandengdit is out of mind and I advice u not TO insult her deeply likely THAT ...if you talk of her vagina then you insulting you mother vagina too....respect first....sorry, she is to be condemn of her mistake only

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    • 28 February 2017 19:05, by Paul Ongee

      Mama Rebecca Nyandeng is de lost mother of de nation. Choice of words is always a problem for someone like her who desperately wants to be considered as a senior politician of our lifetime. That is always the problem facing Dr Riek Machar and Dr Lam Akol. They think that it’s easy to imitate de iconic leader and articulate Dr John Garang de Mabior who challenged his peers, academicians n media

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  • 1 March 2017 01:32, by Dinka-Defender-General

    Nyandeng is losing her mind or she seems to run out of money and she needs a political gain. We, the South Sudanese people and the world know there were many children serving in South Sudan civil war during the liberation. I believe no child soldiers left there home because of searching for food. Her claim is baseless. Therefore, please don’t mind her comments because she is losing her mind.

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