opinionBy Kuach Y. Tutkuay
"My ballot has became a bullet haunting my dear life; Kiir must be a factory processing ballots into bullets"---K.Y. Tutkuay
The unrest in south Sudan has been the talks of the day all over the world from many TV and Radio stations. Different media outlets have reported the incident from different perspectives but in most cases they described it as a coup attempt, the only thing that remains questionable is, "who attempted the coup?" Now that several people who were expected to be involved in the alleged coup attempt have been arrested, why is the fight escalating to the states? Who masterminds it? This left serious doubt on whether government or opposition planned the coup. If this was to be called a coup, then the government planned the coup to overthrow the opposition and not the other way round.
In my personal views, as a person who had firsthand experiences of the situation in the presidential guards barrack which is just some meters away from my house, the incident was a suspicion among the presidential guards fueled by the repeated criticism by the government and the opposition, the civilians as well as the soldiers were in high alert but alarm of what may happen. The fight started in the Tiger battalion who were suspected to have been given an order by the minister of defense to go and arrest the opposition group. When these rumors circulated, some soldiers who are loyal to the opposition, without the knowledge of the opposition started to react by fighting their comrades who are preparing to accomplish the mission at hand. The evident that validates this suspicion was that General Marial Chinuong was in the barrack till late in the night, which was for the first time according to some soldiers.
The group that was sent on a mission, mostly dinka was expelled out of the barrack and they spread a lot of phone calls saying "we fought the Nuer and we were expelled out of town." Up on hearing, the few dinkas who were in possession of arms in the areas of Mia Saba, Munuki and Eden took up arms and visited individuals houses whose inhabitants are known to be nuer. That was how the chaos started, and the message was spread that the fight is between nuer and dinka. In this case, there are two contradictory statements, one says that the fight is a coup attempt and the other says that the fight is between Nuer and Dinka, hence, a tribal fighting. With a due respect to logic, these two scenarios cannot be true at the same time, one must be true and the other wrong, or both may be wrong.
If it was a coup attempt, the arrested group should be caught active, but they were arrested in their own individual houses with no more than five bodyguards. The question was, how can you plan a coup and go back to your bed and sleep? If it was a tribal fighting between the dinka and the nuer, let's cast a quick glance at how the two groups were divided.
The first group who are in the government from the Dinka and the Nuer: Salva Kiir (Dinka), Manase Magok (Nuer), Dr. Marial Benjamin (Nuer), Dr. Riak Gai (Nuer), Simon Kun (Nuer), James Hoth (Nuer, Thomas Duoth (Nuer) Dr. Nguen Munytuil (Nuer), James Kok (Nuer) John Kong (Nuer), Makuei Lueth (Dinka) Kuol Manyang (Dinka) Pieng Deng (Dinka), Baping Monytuil (Nuer), Telar Deng (Dinka), Dr. John Gai (Nuer), Aleu Ayieny (Dinka) among others.
The second group who are in the opposition from the Dinka and the Nuer: Dr. Riak Machar (Nuer) Madam Rebecca Nyadeng (Dinka) John Luk (Nuer) Majak De Agok (Dinka) Deng Alor (Dinka), Chol Tong (Dinka), Taban Deng (Nuer), Deng Athorbei (Dinka), Gier Chuang (Dinka), Madut Biar (Dinka), among others.
Frankly speaking, the fight was not a coup nor was it between nuer and dinka. The fight was a tactics used by the government to eliminate the opposition or to silence them of their claims. It was a tactic introduced to Kiir by his best friend Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda. The tactic worked, of course, but what they never knew was the casualties faced by the civilians. President Kiir, to add an injury to the insult, ordered tribal killing targeting the Nuer tribe. Kiir might not be happy with the Nuer being the second largest group and the fact that he considers Nuer as his chief rivals, as such, he want to terrify them so that next time they will learn to keep their mouth shut. This made it incredibly hard for the civilians to distinguish between the true government and the true opposition because the government in which the civilians should run to for safety has ordered them killed all.
President Kiir has been labeled as a tribal leader by his opposition. Many had thought of this as a political propaganda, but to the surprise of the citizens and the world at large, he proved that this is something more valid than just a mere propaganda. To validate this, the people in the UN compounds are mainly nuer and some few shilluk, no single dinka. Mr. Kiir termed these IDPs as "Dr. Riek's militia who lost the fight and run for safety." The wounded people in Juba teaching hospital have no single nuer among them, this mean that any wounded of a nuer was got rid of in the battle field. Some few nuers who are loyal to Kiir's government face humiliation despite their high level of education. Dr. Riak Gai Kok, a national health minister was described as a "Nuer tribal leader" while giving a statement on the state run SSTV. Naming a national figure in reference to his tribe at this particular point in time, I think, has got a very deep meaning to those who did it, and is an open question to the intelligence of the individual minister.
Mr. President continued to use his normal act of denying people access to media. Several international media stations have sent their correspondents to south Sudan but Kiir's government denied them access to the displaced and to the hospital. Individual's interviews and opinions are being sorted before airing them out to the public, they removes any statement that go contrary to Kiir's make-up story of the reality. People are being slaughtered in masses in their own residences. It was very tragic what we saw in the UN Compound on Tuesday, the 17th of December, a man who was caught with his cousin brother in the Munuki road trying to flee to UN Compound for safety. The brother was killed and the man, on gun point was forced to eat his brother's flesh. The man, having no choice, ate the flesh and was left to go. Up on reaching UNMISS compound, the man vomited nearly to death. He was attended to in UNMISS's level 2 clinic. His condition was terrible. For the first time in my entire life I came across such an act against humanity. The mass burial of the dead is being done at night to avoid the media seeing them. One journalist asked, "we have known that people have been killed but where are the bodies?"
Kiir accused four Nuers, six Dinkas, three Shilluk, and other three from Greater Equatoria of the alleged coup. If he is trying to get rid of the participants of the alleged coup, it has got nothing to do with the Nuer alone. I want the international community to get convince that this is not a coup de etat. Usually, the government's response to any coup is by arresting military generals and the politicians, but not killing of civilians of a certain ethnic group, the dictionary will define that as "genocide." For those who fool themselves that this is a coup, that is not true, unless you are telling me the coup was planned by unarmed women and children from ethnic nuer who lose their lives as a result of the alleged coup.
President Kiir ordered a twelve-hours curfew. This was another language he used to inform his Dinka militia of dootku bany to carry out a house-to-house killing of the nuer, as a result of this, a Presbyterian pastor who taught me in Kenya named Simon Nyang Lam from Lou-nuer was called out of his house where he was wearing his pastoral collar. Kiir's militia being so aggressive did not allow the pastor even to pray, they slaughtered him with a knife as they don't want to waste their bullet on a powerless pastor. The aggression by the 25,000 youth from Lou-nuer is something beyond the support for Dr. Riak. They plainly said it that they are not going to Juba to fight for Dr. Riek, but to revenge on the death of their innocent children and parents--Pastor Simon Nyang included.
Finally, my message to the international community is that for this chaos to find an immediate solution, they must call on president Kiir to resign because it will make it awkward for the ethnic nuer to pay their respect to someone who had massacred them in a cold blood murder. Till the end of Kiir's regime, I don't think he will set foot in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states. As a Nuer, I have nothing to do with Dr. Riek's or Salva Kiir's leadership, anybody else may be a leader regardless of ethnicity, but South Sudan, as long as Kiir continues to be a leader, will not find peace. For those of you who want to enjoy a show of more bloodshed in south Sudan, you can easily do so by insisting on Kiir's leadership.