Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 6 March 2018

Kiir’s Policy for Dinka Dissidents: Eliminating dispute by killing

By Wol Deng Atak

With a Dinka man serving as president of South Sudan, a country marred by ethnic targeted killing, it easily passes unnoticed that Kiir regime targets Dinka nationals opposed to his rule. Many people outside Jieng (Dinka) sphere are not aware that their Dinka siblings are in a similar situation the rest of the country faces. Just as the regime inner circles plot and unleash violence against people of various ethnic communities opposed to Kiir’s governance, the Dinka people opposed to Kiir rule face yet another devastating ordeal in the hand of the regime in Juba. In fact, it has been a bad experience for some of us, Dinka nationals, who took the pen for a gun to oppose the regime bad governance. We were not spared and had to spend months and years on the run for our dear lives having had to flee the country under mysterious circumstances. President Kiir and his inner security circles equate opposition by a Dinka to him as a betrayal to entire Dinka ethnic community and this according to him and his circles warrants death enforced by notorious ‘unknown gunmen’. This means that any Dinka person standing up against the bad governance of Kiir is killed straight away before any effort of a person in question gains a momentum.

The notorious ‘unknown gunmen’ terrifying the country with endless killing and kidnapping of dissidents are not unknown within the realm of J1, (State House). They are executing a J1 policy. Many dissidents have fallen victims to this well-protected group as quarters of the larger Dinka community silently groaned under a yoke of fear of a ‘bigger threat to its survival’; even as the suppressed press is coerced not to reporting every extrajudicial killing within the country.

The regime through its propaganda machine has preached to the common members of Dinka community that the community is under existential threat of being annihilated by internal forces supported by the outside world through this claim cannot be substantiated. Although the regime knows its message of the imminent annihilation of the Dinka community is false, it continues only to misinform the unsuspecting community for a purpose of securing the support of the victims thereof - fitting communities against each other for regime’s goal of longer life in power!

Forced disappearance and kidnapping orchestrated by regime inner circles happen against dissidents irrespective of ethnicity and conceivably without most details being heard of it by the outside world. Only prominent personalities detained and tortured or killed got reported. Few examples of Dinka who have fallen victims of regime, which came to surface, were killing of prominent writer, Isaiah Abraham, activist Deng Bol Miyen, three brothers recently killed in cold blood in Juba, calling for death of South Sudan Foreign Minister who disagreed with President Kiir, abduction, torturing, and attempted murder of the civil society leader, Deng Athuai Mawiir, etc.

To begin with, my first examples cited above, the murder of Isaiah Abraham, a Dinka man from Bor, is rightly and entirely blamed on President Kiir Security Unit who killed him for standing up against bad governance. A number of foreign experts (FBI) who offered then to assist in the investigation left the Country in frustration as the regime frustrated every effort to point to the lead on the murderous case.

A member of Security apparatus who detested this senseless extrajudicial killing, Wan Dit, gave a testimony in writing on southsudannation.com attesting that the government killed Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol, aka Isaiah Abraham, because of his writing. Wan Dit wrote a revealing article indicating that “Isaiah Diing was called out from his home and was made to sit down and then shot in the head. He was killed by another Dinka, his tribe people”. Sadly, Isaiah did not do anything wrong to die other than criticizing the bad governance. Instead of correcting the vice the regime killed the voice of reason only carrying a pen and paper. As you might have read in the link above that citizens have been killed and buried within the compound of the Presidential Security backyard aka Tiger unit’s Compound.

Secondly, in February 2018, President Kiir publicly expressed that he would rather have his Foreign Minister, Deng Alor, who was mourning a brother, dead instead of Deng’s brother who died of natural cause. His expressed desires (to have Deng Alor dead) does not only emphasize Kiir’s steam and hate against some quarters within the country’s political divides but his preferred choice for resolution of conflict (eliminating dispute by killing). Perhaps a situation where Deng’s brother a then South Sudan ambassador to Ethiopia remained neutral in the political divides while his brother, Deng, opposed Kiir’s rules and sided with SPLM Leaders would otherwise require a political solution rather than a desire to terminate a life thereof.

In the wake of political rift in the ruling Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) leadership in 2013, Deng Alor was accused of coup d’état against Kiir’s administration and got arrested together with ten other political leaders in the SPLM. Deng and his colleagues were released through an intervention of Troika and the region (IGAD) but were forcefully exiled to Kenya. Although the findings prove the coup allegations baseless, endless grudge has only continued to steam against the former detainees, a group where Deng belongs. Their allies have not been spared either.

Deng was appointed Foreign Minister after parties to conflict reached consensus on 2015 peace accord in 2016. The Accord thereof allotted a percentage of power in the cabinet to SPLM Former Political Detainees (SPLM Leaders) and all the parties signatory to the Peace Agreement, respectively. The Peace Accord also gave Parties the rights to nominate their representatives in the cabinet to which Deng was nominated by his group and duly appointed Foreign Minister through a Presidential Decree.

As it might have already been known to many elites in the country that a stipend for disagreeing with President Kiir of South Sudan, at least in his view, is persecution and in most cases death by unknown gunmen irrespective of ethnic background. With this reality in view and having taken Kiir words for what they intend, Deng left for neighbouring Kenya and announced that he is not returning to South Sudan till there is clear consensus on Peace Agreement being negotiated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Perhaps, who knows, Deng Alor would have fallen victim of Kiir’s inner Security Circle weren’t he a prominent person and well known internationally or if he did not know his way to exit the country early before Kiir’s unknown gunmen pound on him.

Deng Alor told Arabic Newspaper in Juba that President Kiir told him twice that he would prefer him dead instead of his brother. Deng was quoted, “He [Kiir] told me in the office and in the church that if God asks people and asked me I would have told him to take you. He said this after the death of Ambassador Kuol Alor” (Deng’s brother). Such a mean statement by President Kiir reflects his hate and steam directed at any Dinka who dares challenge him or expressing disapproval of his regime. You might be imagining how hard it is for a Dinka to raise a voice against the Juba-based regime. In fact, it is gambling on a life for a Dinka to go against Kiir’s regime and continue to stay in the country.

Thirdly, in November 2017, a Dinka man, 37, Deng Bol Miyen was shot dead for being close friend of former Army Chief who was fired by President Kiir. Miyen, as reported, had a warm relationship with Gen. Paul Malong Awan, and was indeed calling for the release of the people accused of or detained for being closed or related to a sacked SPLA Chief. Mr Miyen was killed on 24th at 6 pm in Juba after receiving a phone call inviting him to witness the release of the detainees. He unknowingly walked into a trap only to realize he was set up, but it was too late to react and was shot dead on arrival. Miyen is not the only Dinka killed because of opposition to Kiir rules. There are many whose demise did not reach media’s ear or public attention. The Juba-based regime has resorted to killing anyone speaking up against bad governance including a mouth (Journalist) that reports its killings.

Fourthly, just in the past month of January 2018, three brothers from Aweil, Dinka, were forcefully removed from their house at night in Juba, driven away, and killed in cold blood by unknown gunmen and the regime instead blamed the killing on the poor IDPs who sought refuge at the IDPs camp. Perhaps the framing serves regime purpose of antagonizing tribe against the other as to engage them in inter-communal feuds while taking the mask to public chase or pocket with impunity.

The recent killing of three brothers named as Deng Mour Deng Kuach, Kon Mour Deng Kuach, and Ayuel Muor Deng Kuach compels any reasonable mind to wonder. Considering that the murder occurred at the time when suspected dissidents were forced to disappear by the regime. In a nutshell, it is not only unsafe for a Dinka to speak against the vice of the regime in Juba, the decision to join opposition comprises of the majority of other ethnic groups fighting against the regime could be fatal. Dr Dhieu Mathok Wol, Minister of Mining, was singled out in the hotel where most of his colleagues resided then after government forces driven Riek out of Juba and brutalized him simply because he was a Dinka who should not have joined opposition led by Riek Machar.

Last but not the least, a then Civil Society Leader, Deng Athuai Mawiir, a Dinka from then Warrap State where Kiir hails, survives attempts on his life twice. He was abducted, tortured, tied in a sack and dumped in the forest to die a painful death, but by God’s mercies, he was rescued by patrolling boots. Deng’s life was nearly snatched simply because he made a public statement against corruption in the country. In August 2014 Mawiir was again attacked and shot at twice while leaving his office. The assault on Deng put a bullet into his flesh but he survived. Late last year Mawiir was tipped off of another plot to assassinate him so he went into hiding. I have not heard from him since then and I hope he is fine.

Based on the above condition, therefore, it should not be misconstrued that the regime in Juba is Dinka’s. It has proved brutal on the Dinka nationals as well.