DINKA BOR DEFENSE FORCES’ INCURSION IN MUNDARILAND
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 8, 2017
It is with grave concern that the Mundari Global Community takes this opportunity to alert and inform the South Sudanese public, the Government of South Sudan, the International Community in general, and the JMEC, UNMISS, IGAD, UNSC, EU, TROIKA States, Canada, and Australia in particular of the recent and ongoing incursions and atrocities in the Mundariland by a militia outfit that calls itself Dinka Bor Defense Forces (or DBF), compromising exclusively of members of the Dinka Bor of Jonglei State, South Sudan.
As we speak, the River Nile eastern bank Mundari territories of Sudan Safari, Gumeiza, Korchomba, and Malang (3 km outside Mongalla) in a controversially- created Terekeka State, are besieged by both the Dinka Bor Defense Forces militia and their ethnic SPLA elements, who, for whatever reason, are not taking orders from the national chain of command in Juba. Since Friday May 5, heavy bombardments have been indiscriminately carried out and innocent civilians have been killed while a huge population is starving in the multiple islands within the River Nile. This sudden conflict between the two traditionally-friendly neighbors was provoked by three (3) marauders from the Dinka Bor community who stole livestock at Sudan Safari. This incidence has however exponentially escalated to other areas more so due to irresponsible, warmongering attitudes by the Dinka youth who are in the army.
Below are the sequences of the incidences that led to the current standoff and incursion:
- On the May 1, 2017 at around 3:00pm, three thieves from Dinka Bor attacked and raided livestock at Sudan Safari Boma of Gumeiza County. In the process of being pursued by the owners of the livestock, one was captured, the second escaped, but the third one, whose name is Gai Bol, was unfortunately killed in cross fire. The captured criminal could not be handed over to the Dinka community since, in that particular day, the Hon. Commissioner of Gumeiza County was away in Juba. He later rushed in upon hearing from the County Executive Director.
- On May 3, 2017, the Commissioner, in company of security personnel and the Gumeiza County chiefs, organized and took the Dinka culprit to the scene of the crime. As if by coincidence, as the Commissioner and his team approaches, the relatives and chiefs of the Dinka prisoner, emboldened by their large number, surrounded the Officer and threatened to kill him, freed off the culprit, and outright embarked on rampaging the whole village, harassing the villagers, and looted properties.
- On the same May 3, 2017, two military vehicles traveling from Juba toward Bor, coldheartedly shot dead the Gumeiza County Revenue Authority Officer, Yikwac Kirjuk, right by the Gumeiza’s official checkpoint station. This later killing by a presumably government people, angered the youth. They begrudgingly laid ambush without the knowledge of the County Commissioner, and killed people in the second army vehicle.
- Alarmed by the horrific development, the Commissioner timely mobilized security personnel and intervened. Subsequently, all other vehicles traveling from Bor to Juba were safely guided to the County HQs and parked for overnight. On May 4, 2017, the Commissioner escorted all the Vehicles from Bor up to Logori Payam near Mongalla, where they spent another night. On the morning of May 5, 2017, all vehicles were safely escorted in a larger convoy all the way to Juba.
- On the same May 5, 2017, while the Commissioner was away in the escort duties, the militia group now called Bor Defense Forces overran Sudan Safari and Gumeiza, looted belongings, other valuable properties, and burned down houses.
- Further, a motor boat carrying the Riverine Forces and SPLA Division 8 under Commander Malual Majok were dispatched from Gondokoro through Mongalla. The Riverine Forces attacked civilians in the islands of Korchomba and Gumeiza, terrorized, displaced civil populations, and effected massive destructions.
- On May 6, 2017, having faced deadly resistance and self-defense by the Mundari youth, the Dinka Bor Defense Forces mobilized heavily in the Gumbo suburb of Juba. The Forces included members of cattle camps but all dressed up in military uniforms. Once again, they set out toward Gumeiza. But this time round they landed on Malang village (3km north of Mongalla), where at around 2:00am (May 7, 2017), they launched heavy and devastating assaults against civilians.
- On May 8, 2017, three (3) open-top land-cruisers mounted with machine guns were sent to the expansive villages in Korchomba. These heavily equipped military vehicles avoided the main road and instead came through the forest where they attacked women in the farms, who were picking eatable leaves for their children. Eight (8) women were killed and 15 of them went missing.
It is to be recalled that this is not the first time the Dinka Bor has launched such provocative, savage attacks on the peace-loving and harmonious Mundari people. In fact, in October 2009, the Dinka Bor pastoralists, in collaboration with their brothers in the SPLA, assaulted and burned down houses, stores, crops, and pillaged and looted villages. That attack dropped away the entire Eastern Bank Mundari population, accompanied by threats of conquering or wiping out all the Mundari along the eastern bank of the River Nile in Central Equatoria. It has become increasingly clear that the Dinka Bor have a burning desire to hijack the entire area sprawling from Dinka Bor- Mundari borders through Gumeiza, Mongalla, Rajaf, and Lobonok.
The Mundari Global Community condemns in the strongest terms the antagonistic, corrosive, and reprehensible scheme by our Dinka Bor brothers. As a people who aspire for peaceful coexistence, we believe such aspirations can only be achieved and enjoyed by all if we respect our boundaries, observe guiding norms, customs, and national laws.
In conclusion, the Mundari Global Community urgently call upon all the rival parties, and the relevant international and regional organizations mentioned above to:
- Immediately cease the standoff or clashes and resort to dialogue;
- Urge all the invading Dinka Defense Forces and ethnic militias to withdraw from the Mundariland and reopen all the routes for humanitarian intervention;
- Rescue the lives of the displaced and starving civilians through food and shelters;
- Pressure both the Sates and National governments to establish channels of communication and interaction;
- Order immediate withdrawal of the SPLA Dinka forces in Sudan Safari, Gumeiza, Logori and Malang and replace them with neutral forces;
- Institute thorough investigation and accountability measures.
Prepared and signed by:
Mundari Global Community – AUSTRALIA Mundari Global Community – CANADA
Mundari Global Community – UK Mundari Global Community – USA Mundari Global Community – KENYA Mundari Global Community – UGANDA
Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission – JMEC
United Nations Mission in South Sudan – UNMISS
Intergovernmental Authority on Development – IGAD
United Nations Security Council – UNSC
United States of America – USA
European Union – EU
TROIKA member states’ Governments Government of Canada
Government of Australia