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South Sudan army accuses Khartoum of backing clashes in Unity state

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By Ngor Arol Garang

April 22, 2011 (WAU) – South Sudan’s army on Friday, accused the central government in Khartoum of backing ongoing clashes in Unity state by forces loyal to renegade general Peter Gatdet.

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Villagers living in a small village in the northern part of Unity State in Southern Sudan stand next the only road connecting their village on November 11, 2010 (Getty)

The accusation came following eruption of heavy fighting in Mankien and areas around Mayom County in Unity state. Officials from the affected areas in an interview with Sudan Tribune estimate that 85 people, mostly innocent civilians, have been killed. Several others are also reported to have sustained severe injuries as many more were displaced in the clashes.

Yak was one of the militia commanders absorbed into the southern army Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in 2006 - as part of a 2005 peace deal the SPLA became the only legal army of South Sudan. After the signing of the 2006 Juba declaration 6,000 soldiers, predominantly from the South Sudan Defence Forces (SSDF) were integrated into the SPLA.

The SSDF was headed by General Paulino Matip who like Gatdet fought against the SPLA backed by Khartoum for periods of the civil war. Matip is now deputy commander in chief of the SPLA.

Following completion of the integration process in 2007, Gatdet along others were commissioned and given assignments. He was one of SPLA field commanders assigned to strategic and hotpot areas of Abyei, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and areas of Unity and Upper Nile states.

In March the SPLA announced that Gatdet had defected after obtaining permission granting him leave to travel to Nairobi, Kenya. However, the South Sudan government said that Gatdet instead went to Khartoum from where he formally announced forming his movement the SSLA on 11 April.

On Thursday armed elements loyal to him clashed with forces belonging to the SPLA in an attempt to establish a base in his home county of Mayom, resulting into killing an estimated 85 people, the state government said Friday.

Speaking from Bentiu town, capital of Unity state, Gatuak Tut, an administrative officer in the state ministry of local government said that heavy fighting began on Thursday and resumed on Friday.

"It has forced thousands of civilians trapped in the area to flee," said Tut. He said that witnesses had reported the use of heavy artillery.

SPLA spokesperson Phillip Aguer, in an interview with Sudan Tribune from Juba on Friday accused Khartoum of backing the clashes in the area. He claimed that government armed Arab militia known as the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) had participated in the attack launched by forces loyal to Peter Gadet.

"There was a fighting yesterday in Mankien. It was an attack jointly launched by the Popular Defence Forces in collaboration with armed elements loyal to Peter Gadet. There was another attack and fighting this morning but they were repelled. The SPLA is now in control of the area," said colonel Aguer.

The senior military officer said he was still gathering information regarding casualties.

"I still do not have details of these clashes. What I can tell you is that they have been repelled. They are no longer in the area. The SPLA is now in control and it is obvious that this fighting is organized by Khartoum. The government in Khartoum is the one arming and supporting Gatdet with weapons used in this attack," the SPLA spokesman said.

Aguer said Gatdet did not take any arms from the SPLA when he defected in March, saying that this meant that his arms must have been provided by Khartoum.

“Khartoum just wants to create instability in the south by directly arming and supporting dissidents like Gatdet to create chaos in the south so that they tell the world we are not capable of managing our own affairs," explained senior military officer.

He accused Gatdet’s forces of killing injured people in the area around Mankien.

Bol Gatkuoth, a spokesman of the newly formed rebel group in the oil-producing region of South Sudan named as South Sudan Liberation Army, claimed in a separate interview with Sudan Tribune on Friday it captured one of the SPLA strategic military barracks in Unity state on Thursday and were still fighting to take over Mayom.

"We started our operations in areas around Mayom yesterday resulting into the fall of Mankien to our forces and subsequent movement to Buong. Buong is one of the SPLA post near Mayom town and one of the payams [districts] with a military base in Mayom".

"We destroyed four cars and information is still coming hopefully with more victories. We are determined to take Mayom by all means possible. At the moment our forces have captured weapons and ammunitions stores and dozens of SPLA were killed. The operation is still going on under code named "Free Unity State Campaign", claimed Gatkuoth

He claimed their movement is fighting due to corruption and bad governance in the government of South Sudan.

"Public resources are openly being misused by individuals within the system. Our reasons are clear and simple. South Sudan has becomes a property of individuals who have refused to accept the rule of law”, he said.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 23 April 2011 08:10, by Hero

    Something obvious guys! Therefore, you need to stop repeating it again and again, since it’s not gonna change anything at all.But be prepared to countered their attack with a full force once they struck, and you will surely defeat them like their likes.

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    • 23 April 2011 08:55, by Omoni jr

      Nuer can never liberate whole south sudan,just let them stay in unity state or we can sell unity state to north sudan or we trade with Abyei region.
      Nuer must move to Abyei and Dinka Ngok come to unity state as simple as that.
      Omoni jr, New cush, south sudan

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      • 23 April 2011 10:22, by actiongatkuoth

        hey !! Omoni jr,

        Omoni jr are you normal person????????/
        I beleive you are abnormal that is why you don’t know what you are talking about,

        who can take our mother land Unity State???? can you useless dinka?????

        no body can take our mother land Bentiu in the South or Sudan as whole,

        who can take great NAATH in Unity State to leave their own land and go to stay in abyei?????????
        can you poor tribe , food lover dinka?????????

        Omoni jr look back the Naath history and dinka in order to talk,
        I think you are teenager omoni jr that is you talk like mad man,
        while you are realy mad man
        schame on you food figter dinka????///
        thank ,
        Bentiu is great,

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      • 23 April 2011 10:31, by Malek David

        @ Amoni Jr!

        You are so sick and your comment doesn’t makes a sense at all. Unbelievable! Who are you to relocate people in Southern Sudan and if you are not that ever STUPID why are you generalizing all NUER and yet your uncle George Athor rebelled against the Southern Government will it be good if i say ALL DINKAS are rebels? you are so stupid like any any other stupid ones I know on this web. Hell with you and your retarded mind!

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      • 23 April 2011 13:32, by Mr. godfather master of reality

        The government of Dinka’s have refuse to fight the real enemy
        in Abyei
        opposite quick to fight there brothers and sisters

        SSLA WILL NOT LET DINKA’S government to kill in cool blood
        there brothers and sisters anymore
        the revolution has just began to clean up Juba and other towns in our beloved land from DINKA’S

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      • 24 April 2011 04:34, by kulea

        this is amindless idealogy Dinka empty mind Unity State is a land of powerful Nation don’t even try to compare them with betrayed Dinka I know Dinka were interested for free market we already knew them, they were wellknown Community who know how to soldout the land as they soldout Abyei in 1905 and also Mr John Garang and Mr Nuer Nepew was trying to seld unity to Arabian they wouldn’t won that game whoever tried again will face the hot bullet to his/her damge ass becareful,
        Mr Omon watch yr words before u airing them out u just mentioned Nuer ingeneral,well that is good indeed to let those who supporting Dinka Corruption be aware about that allegation let me tell u this my friend if Nuer decide to organizer the fight and supporting it well u will see that fight must be against Dinka their asses,
        again u miss quoted the word liberation, Gn like to liberating Dinka Anti corruption especially the Nuer Nepew Mr Taban Mohammad Hammed Hassen who nominated by Cow Boy Mr Salva Kiir as a Governor of powerful Nation Unity State Capital Bentiu the Horn of South Sudan Fatherhood

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  • 23 April 2011 08:10, by dinkador1

    THAT IS AMISTAKE FROM SPLA. THOSE SPLM DC WHO ARE NCP and we knows that.
    belive me very maney are in the govermant of GOSS,eg one of the minister in W E S, mr awadi kissanga.
    He is planing samething for W E S,to be taken by jalaba
    MANEY ARE IN JUBA,OTHERS ARE IN OTHERE STATES.
    one day you will see jalabas soon in the south without knowing how they came.
    Let us open our eyes and be ready for any operation.

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    • 23 April 2011 08:30, by Angelo Ajiech Manyuat

      SPLA should stop complaining now since they already know where those rebels get their support & act smartly to defeat those visionless rebels. In addition, SPLA should also stay prepare and defene our helpless people from those animals who let themselves to be manipulated by the NCP run by dogs.

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  • 23 April 2011 08:13, by Bol Deng

    SPLM must captured these militia like Bol Gatkuoth and Gatdet Yak. SSDF are the one who defect to Gaddet militia. I don,t think whether Corruption could be erased by violence. Time for SPLM to know that those who sleep in Khartoum are the devils and they will still working against the South till their death no matter what position SPLM gave to them.
    Division4 must response aggressively against these food lovers as soon as possible.

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    • 23 April 2011 09:15, by Cibaipiath Junub Sudan

      South Sudan Army (SPLA) should stop this millions of complaints and accussations. The situation is very hot now as Division 4 which is 80 % Dinka are targeted and got killed by Gadet forces. You see from the previous reports Nuers are the only defecting from the SPLA forces and join the Militias. This is what the Government of South Sudan want. They intergrated them in abundance into the SPLA forces so that the SPLA become weak and Weak. Why do the SPLA sent millions of complians to the public? Please stop that complain and do what is best to protect your forces. One thing i know so far that Gadet and his forces will not suceed because his rebellion is based on tribalism. He did not take into account the wide poliical perspective to include a clause of considering all Southern Sudanese who are also exploited and marginalised in this Government. This rebellion will just die like rebellion of 1991. Gadet should have waited until the independent of South Sudan is achieved and if he want to overthrow GOSS, then he need to drop the word- "Dinka Dominated Government". Who did he want to lead this Government or the Nation of South Sudan? That negative slogan will not keep South Sudan in peace because other tribesmen of South Sudan will be againts the Government of South Sudan if South Sudan will be lead by any leader from any other tribe. For example if the President of South Sudan will be from Equatoria then Nuer and Dinka will be against Equatorians or if President comes from Nuer then, Dinka and Equatorians will be against Nuer and vis versa. Do you think that South Sudan will be in peace?

      Why not people who does not like this corrupt practice come up with Political war which they would gain full support from other tribes of South Sudan? Let us all be patient and aim to our goal of Independent. There is still enough time to crticise each other.

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      • 23 April 2011 10:44, by amon

        @Cibaipiath Junub Sudan

        My brother, you are very right, Nuer are not the best economists in the South Sudan who can tackle the corruption and boost transparency. Gadet would have consulted the other tribes in the South about what to do with the corruptions in the GOSS, but rebelling with his own tribe (Nuer)that his is fighting corruption does not make any sense, this is just another very BIG CORRUPTION, TRIBALISM AND HATRED. Now if his tribe succeeded (I don’t say it will)and take the government then he will do the same thing and another tribe will also rebel against you and cycle will go on and on.

        One can’t kill two birds with one stone at the same time. Our first target is to achieve our independent from the North and then tackle corruption and tribalism within us.

        To me, Gen Gadet doesn’t understand the CPA very well neither does he respect it. I wish someone from Nuer should explain it for him very well so that he understands.

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      • 24 April 2011 00:49, by ebonyebony

        Thank you for this wise comment. To be honest I’m sick of it and you know what, when time comes and we need to reaaly accuse Khartoum of something , then no body will believe us!Another point even people in soutehrn Sudan will lose interest in these complians!

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    • 23 April 2011 11:15, by Dinka Dominated SPLA

      Dear reader The majority of people in Nuer aka Neeth were not provided with any kind of schooling and were completely illiterate and they, very badly paid to killed their childeren, and treated almost as slaves.in their history eg Gatdat yak and many more nyagatism gangster.
      What do you think they most of them can do better then being nyateen of all time but he is now in trundle to be defeaded by mighty SPLA/M
      death to Gatdat yaak

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  • 23 April 2011 08:41, by amon

    Bol Gatkouth the spokesman of the newly formed rebel (SSLA)claimed their movement is fighting due to corruption and bad governance in the government of South Sudan yet the GOSS is dominated by the Dinkas and the Nuer.

    Now they want to capture unity state so that they can give the oil to the north, will that not be a big corruption?

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    • 23 April 2011 09:09, by Toney Toney Matot

      Dear Amon,
      you are absulotely right. those thugs are not fighting for corruption but fighting for self enrichment. gatdet enrich himself with redemption money in 1998 till 2002. he was asked by late Dr.John Garang if he could be given a chance to go abroad for further studies but he refused that offer becuase of redemption money.those who may follow him are selfish like him.
      SPLM/A mangaed to control the 1991 defection of which their leaders are PHDs and most powerful politician leave this illitrate gatdog who dose not know of how long this war will take.time will come and we will teach him a leasson.getdet in early years of SPLA,we were in one operartion and he knows very well.

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      • 23 April 2011 09:28, by Malith Rual

        How can some body who doesn’t know the meaning of "Rule of law" fight for rule of law? Gadet and his short sighted group are just fighting for individual interest and that is Bashir interest, make all those nonsense and bear in mind that that fuckin Mayom county is where the current VIP of GOSS came from you will never and never capture at all unless there is hidden agenda.
        Shame on you yeah foods lover Gadet and Ngundeng himself will cast you b/c Ngundeng needs the independent of South Sudan not to leave with Arab and you guys believes in him.

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    • 23 April 2011 09:13, by Nhomlawda

      What rule of law is Peter Gatdet Yak, Bol Gatkuoth, Gatluak Gai, Bapiny Monytuel and the like gona bring to South Sudan? All these dudes were with Riek Mahcar’s SPLA Nasir faction, Matip Nhial’s SSDF, and part of South Sudan regional government from 1997 to 2002, and all did not show any rule of law in those formations. Their utterances are only appealing to stupid people like them but not people with analytical skills to analyze and judge situations.
      They are just uncivilized Nuer warmongers.

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    • 24 April 2011 23:15, by peter paul

      You got it right brother, That is what they wanted to do.
      during campaign when omar came to unity, He said he has a very good plan for Unity. And that is it people they wanted to capture Unity State and start selling oil to they north damn man!!
      where are their elders to cast on them like what gograil elders did to Karbino.

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  • 23 April 2011 10:44, by Alfredo christiani

    Dear colleagues
    SPLA made a complain to the public not because they are weak enough to confront those militias but to notified the world about activities being played by the former foes against unity state citizens
    SPLA has becomes more stronger than before, who ever doesn’t need peace in the south will face consequences of war immediately ,no compromise to any criminal who want to drag us back .
    SPLA Oyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-within 72 hours Gadet will be capture alive or ran to Khartoum like Athor
    Down down Nygatism in upper Nile region –Down down –Nygatism in Upper Nile region –SPLA shall win –SPLA shall win. Hahahhahahahahahahahah
    The writer is SPLA officer who fought with Arabs & nygats in difference fields and made it successful, struggle continue and victory is certain

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    • 23 April 2011 16:03, by Makjohnson

      You guys talks as you are extremelly traumantize of the fighting which you might have encountered once with the Naath-Nuer. All you talking are like cow pupping that no one can bosser him/herself for it. Nuer and Dinka are not new on this planed since they know who in fighting can win the balance of power. You first the young Dinka who uses to be commenting in support to your tribes if it break to Nuer vs Dinka have to consult your elders what posibility you thinks can prevent you not to leave the country or sufferings of extinction. No fearful Hyana can produced brave lion.
      What we don’t want to encourage is the fighting to continues for it has sever effect in the situation we are all praying to achieves in July. You consider that, there are challenges afflicted the governement and, therefore, correct the situation that may be causing rebellions and interruption of the independent. All your talks are just tribal hatred without calculating the probability of the fact that, fighting in Bentiu and the recent clashes in Jonglei states are not just ended rather than a beginning or an alarm to the decission-makers that our country need a broad-base system which unite and accomudate all’s interests. Otherewise, let us calculate the probability of independent extension that, if this frequent defections and the already started clashes continues, we will be given sometime to talks because a country cannot be given independent while there are ongoing choas.
      Don’t forget the fighting in around the oil-field mean to cut the backborn of the governemnts bussiness. Don’t misunderstand that, 95% of the money in South Sudan is invested in oil of Bantiu. We all know the Governemnt of Southern Sudan even the fact that, GoSS has no even a single coin (SDG) in its national account since all money diverted to private and individual’s. there are a lots of confussions awaiting us
      Makjohnson

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  • 23 April 2011 17:14, by shadowmaster

    There we go again, the SPLA blaming the North for its problems. The SPLA needs a new leader, someone who can fill the shoes of Dr. Garang. The separatists in power in the SPLA only want power for themselves.

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  • 23 April 2011 19:10, by Thor-jamal

    Dear fellow Southerners:
    This blaming game by SPLA and GOSS leadership should stop. They need to organize as one strong force and uproot that sort of malitia’s hit and run tactics. Some of leaders of mutiny forces are the ones that held the expedition of our struggle to liberate the entire country of Sudan. They eagerly wanted south Sudan and now that it has been brought to them on a silver plate, they are still whining and killing innocent people. No more appeasement, since they do not want dialogue but war.
    Thank you.

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  • 23 April 2011 23:19, by Marco A. Wek

    Gatdet or Gadet did not rebel because of corruption in the GOSS but instead, he rebelled fearing the corruption he did and that he was going to be investigated and as result, he fled fearing the consequence of the army money he took. He is a fugitive who happened to have blind followers that have been following him for years of his fight alongside his Northern masters and now he went back where he belongs. He is a Southerner in skin and look, however, he is a Northerner in his backing. Everyone knows how long he has been serving his Northern masters but past July 9th, they will drop him like hot potato when South Sudan becomes officially an independent country and by then, North will be having their own financial crisis and would not bother hiring a poppets.

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  • 23 April 2011 23:20, by Marco A. Wek

    Gatdet or Gadet did not rebel because of corruption in the GOSS but instead, he rebelled fearing the corruption he did and that he was going to be investigated and as result, he fled fearing the consequence of the army money he took. He is a fugitive who happened to have blind followers that have been following him for years of his fight alongside his Northern masters and now he went back where he belongs. He is a Southerner in skin and look, however, he is a Northerner in his backing. Everyone knows how long he has been serving his Northern masters but past July 9th, they will drop him like hot potato when South Sudan becomes officially an independent country and by then, North will be having their own financial crisis and would not bother hiring poppets.

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  • 24 April 2011 02:12, by Kim Deng

    Coward Jaang/Slaves,

    The Mighty Nuer Warriors typically attack a Dinka village at dawn when the cattle are lodged in the shelters or tethered near the homesteads. As a result of Nuer Warriors invasions, many coward Jaang families come into Nuer country to escape hunger and the other attendant miseries to which they have been reduced by constand Nuer raiding/invasion that always leave them cattless.

    The coward Jaang/Slaves seldom offer any concert resistance, but rather sought to escape with as many cattle as possible. Later a counterattack might be undertaken with the aid of reinforcements from other communities. This strategy of initial withdrawal conceded the destruction of the settlement and in harvest season raids, the loss of grain supplies.

    Had the Mighty Nuer Warriors whished to occupy the whole Upper Nile, from Renk to Mading Bor and from Ruweng/Abiemnom to Bum-Gambella, it seems unlikely that the other coward Jurs [Jaang, Bar, Chai...] could have stopped them.

    What if the other communities within South Sudan leave Naath and coward Jaang/Slave alone to solve their issues in battlefield? Of course, the Mighty Nuer Warrior cannot only claim the whole greater Upper Nile, but also the some part of BEG.

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    • 24 April 2011 07:06, by piol

      Kim Deng I think you are coward yourslf.Read your on comment and then tell me who are cowards between Nuer and dinka.

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