SANDIAGO – The word “terror” comes from the Latin word “terrorem”, meaning great fear. It is not a relatively new word by any means. However, the word terrorism came into popular usage as a result of the World Trade Center Attack in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC on September 11, 2001. If you need a refresher, Osama bin Laden was the founder of al-Qaeda, the organization that was responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States, along with numerous other mass-casualty attacks worldwide. The word itself, terrorism, grasped the world’s attention, while the act or destructive nature of the act has become a new phenomenon.
Al-Qaeda was formed as a direct result of the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. This is what compelled Osama bin Laden to join the Afghan resistance movement. After the Soviet Union withdrew, Osama bin Laden remained active and formed the Al-Qaeda network against Western interests. Its destructive activities attracted radically Islamic members both in the Middle East and the Western World. This eventually spilled over to Africa as well, bringing rise to African terrorist organizations, such as Boko Haram of Nigeria, Al-Shabaab of Somalia, and Maghreb of Algeria, just to name a few. This new Africa order has become one of the more recent terrorist phenomena. This, in my opinion, has given Africa the derogatory title “The Terrorist Breeding Continent.” For the last two decades, many African countries have become extremely vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Stereotypically, terrorist activities have been the domain of radical Islamic groups. If that’s so, what attracted South Sudan, a predominantly Christian nation to also participate in this destructive and scary phenomenon?
When it comes to massacres, Rwanda ranks first by vice of successfully exterminating up to 800,000 ethnic Tutsis through rival Hutu militias in 1994. South Sudan ranks second in successfully massacring between 300,000 and 500,000 people, the majority of whom belonged to the Nuer ethnicity since 2013.Since December 15, 2013, South Sudan has become well known as a violent place. An August 2015 Peace Pact or the forged Unity Government provided some cause for optimism, but has been decapitated for all intents and purposes. The peace agreement has no use any more. Violence erupted yet again when the Gen. Taban Deng Gai, the bin Laden of South Sudan, snatched the vice presidency from Dr. Riek Machar and became Salva Kiir Mayardit’s partner in crime.
Juba became the scene of the massacre of ethnic Nuer by an ethnic Dinka militia of Salva Kiir’s Aweil, as well as fighters from Gogrial and Warrap. Fighting further spilled over to other ethnic groups in the country. Since that fateful December 15, 2013, South Sudan has never witnessed peace again as the bloodshed continues without pause. The violence has been out of hand, putting persons of all ethnicities and nationalities at risk.
Is it fair to call South Sudan a current terrorist habitat in Africa? Look at these activities beyond December 15, 2013. Prominent journalists were slaughtered in cold blood in 2015: Randa George, Raja FM; Dalia Marko, Raja FM; Musa Mohamed, Raja FM; Boutros Martin, South Sudan Television; Adam Juma, Raja FM. All these victims were from Western Bahr al Ghazal State (Wau). In addition, the following journalists were also killed in different years: Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol, Freelance, killed in 2012; Isaac Vuni, Freelance, killed in 2016; Peter Julius Moi, Freelance, killed in 2015; Joseph Afandy, killed in 2015; Pow James Reath, Radio Tamazuj, killed in 2015;. All of them were kidnapped and dumped with no one claiming responsibility. South Sudan therefore has “Unknown Gun Men” who drive national security vehicles while wearing uniforms, and are untraceable. Women are raped in broad daylight in front of peace keepers in Juba. Nuer boys are castrated in Bentiu in attempts to eliminate the Nuer in South Sudan. People of other ethnicities are killed indiscriminately. Internal kidnapping continues in the capital Juba.
United States and IGAD Membership
After describing all of these alleged terrorist activities, I would like to have the following groups to answer some questions here: Donald Booth and John Kerry of the Obama administration and IGAD members. The reason I’m picking on them is their significant role in the late IGAD imposed peace deal. While they forced the warring parties to work together, they sent mixed messages to each of them which caused the goal to become murky. What remained unclear up to this point were their overall interests. Many assumed that these interests included South Sudan developing into a stable country that respects human right and the rule of law. However, after June 8, it became clearer that these groups had more nefarious purposes in mind. Dr. Machar and his limited forces were transported to Juba under limited military equipment and limited ammunitions, which left the majority of his forces behind. He was drop-off with no oversight security in the capital to keep the two forces disengaged. The regime started a war against Dr. Machar shortly in few weeks after arriving in Juba. This was possible that the two groups meant to get rid of Dr. Machar, a theory that has yet to be denied by the groups themselves.
Again, after Dr. Machar survived the calculated assassination, those same groups that helped bring peace to the country decided to distance him away from South Sudan in the belief that he contributed to the problem. What happened to the country after Dr. Machar was confined in South Africa, away from his forces? Is the country in peace now? Do these groups still believing that their imposed peace agreement between Salva and Dr. Machar is still alive? The truth speaks for itself.
Look at what is happening right now in the country. As was reported by numerous humanitarian agencies, last year (2016) witnessed mass atrocities. These ranged from home invasions to what was suspected to be murders-for-hire conducted by unknown gunmen, a moniker that the government and the press each claim the other coined. Both indigenous people and foreigners alike believe that many, if not all, of the crimes committed can be traced to the country’s security services. In some cases, members of the so called government forces or SPLA are blamed. In others, police and government militias are said to rent weapons and uniforms for a fee from the SPLA and may also share the night’s illicit gains with gun owners.
And then there are independent criminal gangs that may sometimes operate with the aid of members of the security forces. Taban himself reported to have escaped assassinations twice that killed some of his bodyguards. It is quite clear that peace is unachievable without both parties working together. However, Taban convinced the majority members of those two groups that he was more favored by the SPLM–IO forces and politicians than Dr. Machar was. Again, now the truth speaks for itself. Taban Deng Gai seems to be the main suspect on this current war and terrorism in the country. As a humanitarian concerned party, Salva Kiir and Taban are in one column. Therefore, Dr. Machar with his SPLM –IO, as a warring party, needs to come back to the peace table to forge a new peace deal that should be handled by the African Union or United Nations. Some of the IGAD members have a conflict of interest in the crisis of South Sudan.
To the Trump’s administration, a new envoy for South Sudan needs to go and investigate the truth from there, rather than going through the IGAD membership that will not provide details of what this administration needs to know in order to find a way to help resolve the crisis. Currently, Salva and Taban believe that SPLM-IO will be flushed out from South Sudan and then peace will ensue. They are dead wrong. In this scenario, there will be no winners or losers, so the country will remain in a stalled mode.
The reports I mentioned are not made up. The atrocities have been witnessed not only by victims, but also the aid workers and UN protection forces currently on active duty in Juba. And yet, despite said atrocities committed by the regime, those parties continued with unilateral support to Salva’s regime anyway. They placed the Botswanan’s former president Festus G. Mogae in charge to execute their doom deal, which was to assassinate Dr. Machar.
And after their deal failed miserably, they scapegoated the obstruction to the peace agreement on the SPLM in Opposition. As a result, Dr. Riek Machar who is the victim has been distanced from group. The country is falling apart without Dr. Machar now. What those groups have been doing is a complete double blind. They proclaim they want peace, but their acts are totally destructive. It’s completely ignoring the reality on ground, as they continue to favor a regime that has lost more than 60% of the country to the opposition. It can be concluded that these groups benefit from the crisis in one way or the other. They will keep milking the country’s resources while its people are busy killing each other.
The regime continues to spend a large proportion of the country’s oil revenue to buy guns and mercenaries. Other natural resources, such as land, gold and water will be privatized and go to those benefitting from the war. The young Dinka and Nuer in whose name South Sudan is being destroyed to the core are yet aware of the adverse consequences to their future. When are they going to see this and say, enough is enough? Folks, it’s not too late for all the young South Sudan Diaspora to intervene. There is no reason for this war to continue non-stop. I guarantee you, my friends, the Dinka and the Nuer will never be eliminated, and neither will the rest of ethnic groups in South Sudan. This is a fact. If you are aware of this fact, why waste lives and resources for nothing except greed and hatred? South Sudan has become a gaming field for the world, whether you’re aware of it or not. It will continue to remain thus until the young South Sudanese say “NO.”
Let’s bring Kenya’s role in South Sudan war to equation here. It’s high time the world to put Kenya on notice for its corrupt nature and for the terrorist activities conducted there by its own security forces in collaboration with South Sudan against the SPLM –IO politicians and activists. James Gatdet Dak, the Honorable Aggrey Idris and Dong Samuel Luak have all just been kidnapped by Kenyan security in Nairobi. James Gatdet, the press secretary of Dr. Riek Machar, was deported and handed to his enemy in Juba. No one knows where Idris and Luak are, or even whether they’re dead or alive. It’s likely that they have been handed to the South Sudan regime. What is it that the government of Kenya is doing to those South Sudanese forced to live in Kenya as a result of the war in South Sudan? The answer seems to be kidnapping them and returning them to their enemy.
Grave Human Right Violation
Is Kenya violating human right laws, according to Geneva Convention, in regards to protection of those under threat? Be the judge yourself. Let me directly quoted the protocol: The 1951 Convention defines a refugee as a person who is outside his or her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership or a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail him-or herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution (see Article 1A (2). People who fulfill this definition are entitled to the rights and bound by the duties contained in the 1951 Convention. 
Now that James Gatdet Dak, Aggrey and Dong Luak are kidnapped by the Kenyan government and handed to the regime of Salva Kiir, the South Sudanese community worldwide will establish a class action lawsuit against the Kenyan government for this grave violation of human rights. The government will be put under the spotlight to explain their actions to the world. It is my hope that South Sudanese and human rights groups work together to take the Kenyan government to international court soon.
Internally Displaced People or IDPs/ Starvation in South Sudan
Another unimaginable violation of basic human right needs has just been officially passed by the “Minister of Labour, Public Service & Human Resource Development in Juba”. Aid agencies are being charged numerous amounts for work permit fees in dollars for providing humanitarian services to the internally displaced people in South Sudan. The rates seem to be $10,000 for professional/ business class people, $2000 for blue collar workers and $1,000 for casual workers. It’s another road block by the regime, further sanctioning the citizens who didn’t request to be in that situation within their own country. To me, it’s quite clear that the regime’s intention is either advancing its corrupt nature on NGOs, or purposely using starvation as a weapon to kill in cold blood. To the world’s surprise, the so called First Vice President Gen. Taban Deng Gai recently issued an order blocking the Nuer, Chollo and Balanda children from sitting their exams that the whole country is preparing for. Again, this school examination’s blockage is political and purposely used as another mean to sanction those who fear for their lives to leave the UNMISS camps. It has been Taban’s promise to his master Salva Kiir since he attempted to take the life of Dr. Machar that as a vice president, he was going to bring out those under the UNMISS protection camps. Shame on the regime for failure to provide adequate protection to its own citizens who have to be under mercy of the United Nations. A complete human rights violation is unfolding in that country.
I am calling on the African Union (AU), United Nations and Troika members to intervene. Please investigate the basis for these and its adverse effects on those depending on United Nations’ protection and handouts from aid agencies all over the country. For the peace to be realized in the country, Dr. Riek Machar must return back to the region, ASAP. Nobody else is interested to bring peace to the people of South Sudan than Dr. Machar.
The writer lives and works in the United States, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.