Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 27 October 2017

In South Sudan, There is No Culture to Force People to Eat Human Flesh

By Amb. Gordon Buay

There is an ongoing debate about the story of a Nuer woman in a refugee camp in Gambella who told Amb. Nikki Haley that she was forced to eat the flesh of her baby that was thrown into the fire. Such a false allegation from the woman became viral in the social media because it was mentioned by Amb. Haley in a press conference after she left the Refugee Camp.

In South Sudan, there is no practice of forcing people to eat human flesh. The story is definitely untrue. The Western journalists should take time to interview the woman who said it and find out which area did the incident take place.

According to AU report of 2015, the Nuer woman who claimed to have been forced to eat a human flesh is in Juba POC camp. That was the woman who made the first allegation that she was forced to eat human flesh in Juba on December 17, 2013.

Every Nuer in Greater Upper Nile, who claims to have been forced to eat a human flesh, is definitely lying because, in Malakal conflict, the White Army controlled the town five times. Most Nuer who were in Malakal ran to UNMISS PoC site after the White Army attacked the town.

When the SPLA forces captured Nasir on May 4th, 2014, there were no civilians in the town. Civilians fled while the SPLA forces were still 35 KM away from the town.

No single civilian died in Nasir let alone an allegation that a woman was forced to eat a human flesh.

Most Nuer refugees in Ethiopia are from Jikany and Lou Nuer. No one among them can persuade us that he or she was mistreated by the SPLA army. They ran to Ethiopia because of a conflict, not because they were forced to eat human flesh.

In South Sudan context, the only act which was practised by Murle was to throw a baby into a burning fire. The Nuer White Army did it to Dinka Bor toddlers in 1991. They threw them into a burning fire.

But no South Sudanese would force another South Sudanese to eat a human flesh. It is a taboo among the Nuer and Dinka.

Throwing babies into the fire was practised by the White Army in 1991 in Bor. But they didn’t force Bor women to eat the flesh of their babies.

Not only that, if the perpetrators of such an incident could burn the baby, why then spare the mom, and how she ended escaping to Ethiopia? For those of us who are familiar with the war situation, none of such stories adds up.

The author is the Deputy Chief of Mission of South Sudan Embassy in Washington