By Isaac Vuni
May 13, 2009 (JUBA) — Despite great enthusiasm on Monday put toward the promised reconciliation between Bari and Mundari at Nyakuroni Centre in Juba, it turned out that many Bari community leaders boycotted the meeting and clashes followed Tuesday.
Mundari fighters, as reported by Bari sources in Juba on Tuesday, have attacked more Bari villages. Heavy gunfire could be heard in Juba coming from the direction of Bari small island called Mangakora near Mongalla-Bor road. More Bari civilians were seen again fleeing to Juba town.
Monsignor Consantino Pitya, a veteran of the Anyanya I movement begun in 1955 and a son of southern Bari, said up to five children were taken from Bari of Aru on Monday by suspected Dinka now occupying Bari land as insecurity escalates in the area surrounding Juba, the capital of southern Sudan.
One of the southern Bari children had epilepsy and fainted while being forcefully dragged by Dinka raiders who were thus compelled to leave him behind. The other three children were taken from Aru of Lolubo areas and their whereabouts is not yet known.
Monsignor Pitya emphasized that southerners must always remember that the south is their home given to by God to live in, work in, and pass it on to their children. Therefore, all must respect each other and work towards building a united and prosperous south guided by principle of justice and respect to human rights and rule of laws.
He added that every community has the right to be listened to and allowed to determine their political destiny through sincere constructive criticism from friends.
According to the UK-based SPLM Patriotic organization headed by Azande community leader Charles Kisanga, some reports suggest that some Bari civilians are now disillusioned with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and are seeking ways to take steamers up the Nile in order to go to displaced camps in Khartoum because they cannot have peace in Jebel Lado. Others were kicked out of Juba when their homes were demolished, making them go to the villages which are now under attack and hence they have nowhere to go after these incidents except run to the North like during the 1980s.
Other Bari during the war had fled south to Uganda and were recently repatriated UNHCR who only gave them dry food rations for three months, which are now finished as they are left with nothing other than to face hunger.
“The displaced Bari civilians seem to talk more positively about Khartoum giving them the security and shelter they need and they say they will even vote for unity because SPLM/GoSS have failed as a government for the people and it is only a government for selfish people to make money without caring about service and security for the people,” said Kisanga.
One Bari man fleeing the violence said he had escaped an attack by Mundari fighters Tuesday morning by taking his private boat from the island of Mangakora. Asked whether he, as a Bari civilian supported the current peace efforts, he replied that he does like reconciliation yet as stated by his community on Monday because it was meaningless to reconcile in Nyakuroni while Mundari were still looting goats and cattle in the rural areas of Bari villages.
“Why did they have to attack when the people were for peace at Nyakuroni just a day earlier?” the Bari man retorted.
“The SPLM Patriotic organization condemns the continued fighting and displacement of people and calls on GOSS/SPLM to stop being tribal and engaging in corruption because the end game of corruption is complete breakdown of law and order and tribal stifle taking over,” said Kisanga, explaining that he believes the fighting is not about cattle but is a manifestation of failed leadership.