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Opinion| A response to Paulino Mamiir Chol’s critique on the Abyei-Twic conflict resolution as outlined in the recent presidential decree

I recently came across an article written by Paulino Mamiir Chol regarding the recent presidential decree aimed at resolving the Abyei-Twic conflict (Radio Tamazuj, 19 January 2024: Kiir’s Degree on Disarming Twic and Abyei is ineffective), and I must express my dismay at his standpoint.

In this brief rebuttal, I aim to condemn Mamiir for his endorsement of violence and threats against the implementation of the presidential decree. I would like to point out that Mamiir and his associates have become a destructive influence on the conflict resolution between Twic Mayardit and Abyei. The supposed border dispute, carefully crafted by these foreigners like Mamiir appears to be nothing more than a smokescreen for their selfish interests.

The Twic Mayardit and Ngok communities of South Sudan have found themselves unwitting pawns in a game of manipulation orchestrated by politicians with support from foreigners who prioritize personal gain over the well-being of their constituents. The roots of this manufactured border dispute run deep, with foreign citizens who claim indigenous roots like Mamiir exploiting their connections to further exacerbate tensions.

First and foremost, Mamiir needs to acknowledge the long history of coexistence between the Twic and Ngok communities, where the issue of land ownership at the border was not a source of contention for centuries. South Sudan, or Jiengland to be specific, is vast enough to accommodate all Jieng subgroups and other ethnicities residing among them. Inventing border disputes to disrupt peaceful coexistence between Abyei and Twic is self-defeating.

One of the primary tools in the arsenal of these manipulative foreign citizens, aided by the incompetent local politicians in South Sudan, is the creation of a non-existent border dispute. By fabricating territorial disagreements and exploiting the lack of education among the local populations, they create a narrative that serves their interests. This deceptive strategy aims to divert attention away from the real issues facing the communities, such as inadequate access to basic services, economic instability, and a lack of infrastructure development. The current land dispute only surfaced with the involvement of politicians and clan-minded foreign intellectuals like Mamiir, who, from the safety of their home country, instigate conflict and celebrate the tragic loss of innocent lives.

At the heart of this conflict is the deliberate spread of misinformation to stoke the flames of discontent among the rural, uneducated populations of Twic Mayardit and Abyei. These communities, already vulnerable due to many socio-economic challenges, have become easy targets for manipulation. The manipulation of innocent populations is particularly evident in the way these foreigners leverage social media and other communication channels. False narratives and inflammatory messages are disseminated, creating a toxic environment that fosters division and animosity.

Mamiir and his associates abroad must recognize their status as citizens of foreign countries and refrain from inciting conflict in South Sudan. Identifying with a Jieng name and leading a foreign-based association with the name "Twic Mayardit" attached does not grant him the authority to speak on behalf of Twic Mayardit or any other entity in South Sudan. Any Muonyjang worth their salt should never endorse violence and destruction among different Jieng subgroups. This article showed that he is not one of us.

Mamiir’s advocacy for violence also raises legal concerns, as the South Sudanese constitution, extensively quoted by the author himself, was not crafted to justify violent actions. It is time such people are held accountable in the court of their home countries. Additionally, his seemingly treasonous stance in favor of Sudan's claim over Abyei is alarming. While Abyei is legally disputed, no genuine South Sudanese would consider relinquishing it, and we must adhere to our stance unless we are willing to surrender South Sudanese land and people. The operation of Agok airport is Khartoum’s headache and the South Sudan government should not stop providing services to the people just because a foreign power protested.

Perhaps the most perplexing assertion by Mamiir is the classification of the presidential decree as "ineffective," despite its recent issuance and implementation on the ground is yet to materialize. It is crucial to recognize the destructive impact of such inciting articles on the prospects for peace and stability in the region. Genuine efforts towards conflict resolution are undermined as these manipulative foreign citizens, backed by local politicians prioritize personal gain over the collective well-being of the communities they claim to represent.

As concerned citizens and advocates for peace, it is essential to expose the true motivations behind this manufactured border dispute and hold those responsible accountable. The path to peace lies in a grassroots-based dialogue facilitated by chiefs and elders from Abyei and Twic, supported by their counterparts from neighboring regions. Listening to foreign commentators like Chol, who lack firsthand experience and engagement with the ground reality, is counterproductive and energy-draining.

The resolution of the Abyei-Twic conflict requires a collective commitment to peace and adherence to the presidential decree. Dismissing the efficacy of such measures only serves to hinder progress. It is imperative that those abroad, like Mamiir, reconsider their role and refrain from promoting violence and discord within South Sudan.

If Paulino Mamiir Chol and his associates, often referred to as "lost boys" who have settled abroad, must claim their ancestral roots despite foreign citizenship and play their part in nation-building, they should serve as bridges between their home communities and the broader international community, instead exploit their influence to fuel the flames of discord in South Sudan.

Mading Peter Angong is a Chevening Scholar at the University of Stirling, UK. He is a recent graduate of MSc in Disaster Intervention and Humanitarian Aid. He can be reached via

The views expressed in ‘opinion’ articles published by Radio Tamazuj are solely those of the writer. The veracity of any claims made is the responsibility of the author, not Radio Tamazuj.