By Justin Ambago Ramba
February 27, 2009 — “In the 21st century the boys resorted to the Do It Yourself (D.I.Y) principle to restore security in their State and community, but how will this affect their votes in the 2009 Sudanese general elections”? And why does the GoSS claim to have a south Sudanese defence force in the first place when good chunks of the population are left to do it by themselves?”
The joint military attack lounged by Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on the Lord’s Resistance Arm (LRA) after its leader Joseph Kony failed to sign a final peace deal mediated by south Sudan last year, resulted in a widespread insecurity backlash in vast areas of the DRC and the Western Equatoria State (WES) in south Sudan.
But the saddest part of the story is that money has changed hands between responsible people in the Sudanese side with this notorious terroristic group. It is a known fact that the LRA has reached its present strength through the help of the Sudanese governments. It is the Khartoum government of President Omer al Bashir that offered training within Sudanese soil and armed the LRA in the first place.
Later it became the SPLA led government of south Sudan, under the directives of the chief mediator to the failed Ugandan so-called “ Juba Peace Talks” , the south Sudan’s Vice President Dr. Riek Machar with the blessing of his boss H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit, they relocated the LRA from Its camps in the Eastern Equatoria State inside South Sudan and close the northern Uganda borders to the current locations in western Equatoria State which borders the DRC and the Central African Republic.
In their new locations these criminals (LRA) while continuing to get financial supports from the GoSS, they were also allowed the unlimited freedom to roam the area spreading terror and havoc. They killed, amputated the limps of hundreds of civilians , raped women, abducted people , looted food , properties and set whole villages on fire while the GoSS stood by and watched..
Now following the mid December 2008’s military offensive on the LRA in their safe havens in the Garamba Park, vast areas of the northern DRC and the WES in south Sudan have been re-exposed to yet another human catastrophe.
The fleeing LRA fighters are now on the rampage as they run short of food and ammunition forcing several Congolese in their thousands out of their home and take refuge in the WES inside southern Sudan an area equally devastated by the rebels.
The whole world should be made to know that what is currently happening in WES in south Sudan is a situation where other people’s insecurities and political unrests have been officially relocated by GoSS to where they don’t belong.
Neither Uganda and DRC governments nor the government of south Sudan (GoSS) planned the attack on the rebels with any possibility of the current backlash in mind.
On the other hand the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which is the official army of the semi-autonomous South Sudan was too slow to react and as such failed to contain the insecurity in WES. These infuriated the citizens to the extant that they demanded to be armed so that they can protect themselves from the menace of the LRA, a request though turned down by the GoSS.
But now reports coming from the WES suggest that the newly formed self defence groups which are mainly formed of young men who have vowed to run after the rebels are indeed succeeding in their mission of maintaining security of the State in the face of the LRA attacks. Though only armed with traditional weapons, mainly bows and poison treated arrows and spears, the Arrow Boys of WES (ABOWES) as they became known, are not only doing what the big boys with their jet fighters, artilleries, and tanks failed to do, but they are also pressing for the rebel leader (Joseph Kony) to surrender himself or either die in the bush.
However many sceptics are still questioning as for how long can the ” Do It Yourself” (D.I.Y) adopted by the ABOWES be sustainable in the long term given the primitive weapons they are using to face one of the most notorious bloody thirsty gangs in the region ?
Yet by all measures, the resistance put by the civilians in WES have certainly limited the freedom of movement for the rebels. And if the Congolese refugees also adopt the same principle of self defence, they can organise their arrow boys and in that way the whole area could be successfully cleared of these bandits.
Nevertheless, those military generals involved in the attack on Garamba Park , should know that their war against Kony was a complete fiasco.
The people in WES will continue to hold the governments of Uganda, the DRC, and GoSS responsible for the sufferings they are made to undergo as a result of their ( Uganda – DRC – GoSS) amateurs’ approach of the operation.
I understand that there are those who sympathize with the LRA, unfortunately what doesn’t go well with this is the fact that they (LRA) are now confronting communities who traditionally have no borders with northern Uganda in the first place, but because our own government (The GoSS) have put the bravery of its citizens in western Equatoria to the test, thus their (WES) poisonous arrows will always be there to deter the invaders.
My straight forward message to the people of WES is that they have to continue to be vigilant to the last meaning of the word. Juba is still on the talking part of the game and until they sort out their mess on the delayed salaries, unmotivated soldiers, and incompatible Joint Integrated Units ( J.I.U) of the so-called nucleus for the united future Sudanese army ( a delusion yet to be seen after 2011 ) and the endless lists of its short comings, the WES communities can scratch their backs better than others can do for them.
My previous article “WES Citizens to fight terrorism using bows and arrows,” did draw a number of criticisms from some reactionary elements, but as the message found fertile grounds in the hearts of the WES youth, let it be. An important part of the package is to share intelligence between the different youth groups in the whole State as pertaining to the presence of possible hostile and suspicious human beings within the various localities.
LRA can still be used to destabilise south Sudan by proxy, and as such all non south Sudanese , including any dubious people of south Sudanese decent who might have been victims of money enslavements and would want to upset the status quo should be sported out and dealt with accordingly as dictated by the basic rule of nature”, when caught up in the middle of a battle then you either kill or end up being Killed .”
I am not a warmonger in any way. I am still the all time peace loving physician and as such I am not saying that the ABOWES should go out on a killing spree, but the open secret is that there is a great deal of fuss from some circles that WES people are cowards and they need other people to fight on their behalves. It is now that the whole issue is put to rest once and for all.
I also warn you against the Arabs who from time to time have started to make a presence in the State. Whether you prefer to call them Janjaweed or Ambororo or whatsoever, these groups can be a real source of grave insecurity as their very faith is so much involved in destabilisation and terrorism worldwide.
The people of WES are not in anyway bound to host the Ambororo pastoralists; neither should they be accommodated nor should anyone pretend to smoothly co-exist alongside them. They are indeed the most outstanding of the incompatible groups that need not even spend a night within the State, as there is a higher index of suspicion that they can be used by the traditional enemy to spread the havocs of political Islam in this once peaceful Garden of Eden.
However the least I can say at this stage is that as the citizens of western Equatoria experience much bitterness while they are forced to go through these rough moments of being destabilised by a foreign armed group on one hand and failing to get the protection from the GoSS as stipulated in the constitution, then nobody should be surprised when they go ballistic.