South Sudan: We need ceasefire now!

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Friday, 18 March 2011 06:26
Written by Kuol Mayiir, The New Sudan Vision (NSV),
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(Melbourne, Australia) - When Lieutenant General George Athor Deng ran-off with an assault knife, stabbing SPLA and civilians in the throat in April last year after losing gubernatorial elections to the incumbent governor of Jonglei state, Kuol Manyang Juuk, he was seen as a small problem. Yes, a small problem but now a deadly problem!

With pouring-in of numerous sprays of condemnations, he never minded; he immediately galvanised his loyal commanders in uniform to form his own militia in the bushes of Jonglei State. Not least, during this time, many people were pessimistic…pessimistic whether he will achieve his target without being caught by the leg by SPLA soldiers.

The highs of defeating him sooner were beyond the lows. But by now, given the failure of victory gesture against his insurgency, the obvious is no more unknown. It’s known. The devil is in detail. His militia is killing civilians, SPLA is exacerbating the situation; it’s not allowing UNIMIS to restart peace talk. So complimenting though, our president is doing great! So disgruntled though, our president is being misguided!

There is ever no reservation that once a hyena broke into a cattle byre it’s not going to strike again. General Athor and his Somalia-style warlords are flexing their muscles. They have shown their colour. They have advanced their killings beyond Jonglei forest to populated areas, and so; their activities need not to be underestimated.  His militia and warlords tiptoed further to attack Malakal - an indication of the worse to come- a real microcosm of an assault on the nation and people.

Still, while Athor’s dissatisfaction was not genuine on the basis of political show-off, the relentless numbers of civilians being caught up in frontlines make calls for peace talk to resume and stop hostilities a genuine call. We need cease fire now!  Resume the peace talk now! Stop confrontation now! Invite UNMIS to mediate now!

There is ever no big and small war, they all kill people. Those thinking of wiping out Author’s forces militarily are dangerously hovering down a deadly Molotov cocktail. They are doing a dangerous mistake. Resume peace talk; it’s time to learn from our mistakes while upholding the notion of unity and peace. The time for military skirmish needs to end. It needs to come to an end now because the independence wanted much is achieved and is in the process of accomplishment. Never stab its core again.

The urges coming out from peace lovers to negotiate a permanent peace talk with Athor is not liked by some leaders, but we must tell them, we, the people of Southern Sudan want peace. People want peace to empower themselves, to grow crops, to do business, to go to school and to enjoy the benefit of life. Political differences shouldn’t be made principal values of state. Sort them out in the court, or resign if you don’t want peace.

I was personally petrified, traumatised, and reminded of horrors of misdeeds when Telar Deng Ring- the presidential advisor for legal affairs -  called on the government of South Sudan to launch a decisive military action against forces of Athor. He has never retracted his comment yet. His utterance is unacceptable.  He is misguiding the president. Well, off course, he had misguided the president since and that is totally an abomination.

Legal affairs department is an important institutional apparatus of the government that needs not be blasted into oblivion. It’s the department that advises the government and the president on the legality of an action put forth. It’s not a “black and white” concept department that pulls apart the strings of national significance.

Although I may agree with vice president Dr Riek Machar’s assertion for peaceful settlement of the problem earlier this month, during the prayer gathering organized in the memory of hundreds of civilians killed in Jonglei’s Fangak County by forces of George Athor, it’s not a tribal matter that caused Athor’s choice of rebellion. It’s lack of impartiality and trust in the leadership matters of Southern Sudan. General Athor should have opened a court case to investigate electoral rigging.

Dr Machar’s warning that “the course of all-out war as an option would in the process turn into a tribal war that would engulf the whole of Jonglei state and spread to other states” is not justified. He should have at least rephrased it as meaning it’s not good for sustainable peace and stability of the country.

Even if national interests transcend that of individuals today in the global village of nation states, people, including the die-heart of any movement or regime are naturally obligated to make peace and unity the first national priority than petty divisions that drill hard into the core of national consensus. Our leaders, from family level to the top need to put insignificant wrangling aside and unite for common good. Unite, be one, and support peace!

*Kuol Mayiir is Psychology student at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He can be reached atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .