Skip to main content
By Eng William Garjang Gieng - 23 Mar 2020

Opinion | Response to false claims of Ruweng Administrative borders with Unity State

Part 1

1. Introduction

0n 24th February 2020, somebody by name Dr. Santino Ayuel Longar wrote an article, claiming that Ruweng had a clear administrative border with Unity State since 1905. However, when I went through his document, it appeared that the man was claiming almost the whole part of Nuer territory north of Ghazel River which had never been for Ruweng people at all. Furthermore, Ayuel accused Nuer of Unity State of marginalizing Ruweng Dinka and excluding them from getting their constitutional rights as citizens of the State. It is true that some people in this world promote their histories by distorting the true histories of others and create fake ones to fit their interest for what they want to be in order to cheat others.

Ayuel was reacting to the statements stated by Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol as their parties decisions in regarded to the creation of three administrative areas of Abyei, Ruweng and Pibor after when President Salva Kiir decreed the dissolution of the controversial 32 States and returned the country back to its Constitutional ten states as the Revitalized Peace agreement of 2018 requires.

In his reaction, Ayuel was so proud that he is a PHD holder like those two gentlemen and that gave him the courage to respond on behalf of Ruweng people with all that he could. In his critics, he appeared to be among those who hate the two prominent leaders most on account of Nasir Declaration in 1991 which was a called for all South Sudanese people to fight for self-determination instead of New Sudan which was the main slogan since the inception of the Movement in 1983 till 2005. Moreover, he also proved himself to be one of those masterminding the land grabbing and Dinka domination policy which has been shown by his false claims in his document where he shamelessly renamed all the oil fields located in Nuer territory in Unity State with Dinka names including the famous Unity Oil field in Chotjiok (Leek village), Manga Oil field at Kuer Bona (Jikany land) and  those of Har and Keirat fields of Dor Barkor (Leek areas), those of Dor Payangai and Rotriaah (Leek reas) and many more just to mention a few.

As to respond correctly to his baseless claims and wild allegations, may force me touching some facts from the past events having direct influence on the later actions, such explanation may disturb feelings of others who do not want the truth to be made known to the public, but I have to as the situation requires. We should not keep silent while facts are being turned opposite at our watch against us and our God given land. The author (Ayuel) of the allegations and his readers as well must expect some hot responses from the Nuer people of Unity State with the buried truth to be made known to the public so that everybody judges what is correct.

In this cases, I want to remind my readers in advance that I am not preaching a hate speech here but disputing (1) the false claims about Ruweng border with Unity State and (2) the negative allegation of political marginalization and exclusion of the said Dinka groups from the Nuer of Unity State as claimed by brother Ayuel Longar. The message may be long in detailing facts and truth proving that Ayuel is a liar both in his border claims and reasons designed to justify the Ruweng exit from Unity State, but please bear with me to get my point.

Although Ayuel seemed to have jumped some facts in the administrative transfer of Ruweng People from Province to Province, however, he has mentioned some good points that will help readers of his text understand the problem of Ruweng both in the past and at the moment in a different angle rather than the way he sees it.  Brother Ayuel, in your false claim for boundaries between Ruweng Area and Unity State, you appeared clearly that you know nothing about that issue between Ruweng and Western Nuer areas, but pretending to have known it while not. You were fed wrongly by somebody who pretended also to have known the borders well between Ruweng and Nuer while he was not too. You had just accepted that because of greedy of oil in that fertile areas of Nuer land which you shamelessly have renamed with Dinka names to fit your claims. However, I will prove you wrong and as somebody who wants to disturb the peaceful co-existence of Ruweng with Nuer people in Unity State.

2. Administrative Transfers of Ruweng People

Brother Ayuel stated a very important point that ‘’at the beginning of Condominium Rule, the British Colonial Administration after having explored the northern areas of Ghazel River to transfer from Bahr El Ghazel Province, annexed the areas of Ngok Dinka to Northern Province of Nuba Mountain in 1905.’’ According to this narrative, the British Colonial Administration was looking for empty space (land) where he could settle these people (Ruweng). In that Ayuel article, it is shown that Ruweng people had been transferred from Province to province of the then Sudan five (5) times during the colonial period since 1905 to 1941.

In 1905, Jok (Ngok of Abyei), Ruweng and Twic Dinka were transferred from Southern province of Bahr El Ghazel to Northern province of Nuba Maintains. In 1913, they all were re-transferred to Kordufan Province after the dissolution of Nuba Mts Province. In 1927, both Ruweng and Twic were re-transferred back to Bahr El Ghazel Province, district of Tonj leaving their cousins Ngok of Abyei up in the northern province of Kordufan. In 1929, Ruweng were finally re-transferred to Upper Nile Province where they became part of Bentiu sub-district under Fangak district and was transferred again to Bentiu District established in 1941. Now, one can ask the following questions:

1) Why had these people been subjected to several administrative transfers from province to province from time to time? 2) What triggered their transfer from their cousins in Bahr El Ghazel Province (first transfer from the Dinka Dominated Province) in the South and prefer to be annexed to Jur of Nuba Mountains and Kordufan provinces? 3) What was the reason for their re-transfer (2nd transfer from Bahr El Ghazel Province) to Upper Nile Province where they were placed under the administration of Fangak district purely dominated by Nuer in those days? 4) What made it difficult and impossible for the British Colonial Administration to establish Ruweng and Ngok district apart from Tonj district in the same Bahr El Ghazel province?  5) Why Ruweng did not claim during the successive Governments of then Sudan if they have some areas taken by Nuer in Bentiu District/Unity State those days? Or why they did not claim to be given their own administration apart from Western Upper Nile/Unity State if at all their false claims of today of being marginalized had been true? 6) Could the population of Ruweng in those days (1905-1941) allow them to extend their settlement from Panaru north and westward up to present location of Alor West of Mayom?  7) If a Dinka minority in Western Upper Nile could extend from East to West in that vast land of the northern part of said District/State, what would the extension of the Nuer tribe who were the majority in Western region be up to across the 4 geographical locations of the same District in those days?

As from the Ayuel explanation quoted above, it is clear that some of the transfers were not the ideas from the British Administration but claims from those Dinka being transferred from place to place due to reasons beyond tolerant in those provinces. I guess some of those problems might have been their own makings (generated by them) and some were external threats from other groups.

A live example was that the first transfer of Twic, Ruweng and Jok from Bahr El Ghazel to Nuba Mts Province in 1905 and again to Kordufan province in 1913. Ayuel proved it that ‘’while in Kordufan by the late 1920, the four chiefs of these Dinka groups came to their ‘’senses and made a wise conclusion that the true destiny of their people belonged to Southern Sudanese.’’ This meant, they were the ones mobilizing themselves during the first transferred to Nuba Mts Province for whatever reason they felt not comfortable with in Bhar El Ghazel Province, that claim convinced the Colonial Administrator at that time and accepted their transfer from Southern Province  to Northern Province. Another clear evident showing that the initial move to Northern Province was their own initiative is that when the three chiefs of the above Dinka groups decided later to come back home to their former Bhar El Ghazel Province in South after spending 15 years in the North, their cousins Jaang jiok/Jok (Ngok of Abyei) refused to buy their ideas and preferred to remain in the north till now. Somewhere in  his text, Ayual was trying to justify that the re-transfer of Twic and Ruweng back to Bahr El Ghazel was because ‘’British Colonial Administrators thought that it was unfeasible for these Dinka groups to be administrated from the Headquarters of Arab Province nor in Upper Nile due to their ethnic identity and because the British colonial administrations at that time were chiefly organized on tribal lines, thus that prompted the transferred of the two Dinka sub tribes back to Bahr El Ghazel province in 1927.’’

 Now, if that was the reason for rejoining their fellow Dinka at home, why again had they been  re-transferred to Upper Nile Province after  three(3) years in that province? Again Ayuel said the issue was due to transportation difficulties and other administrative issues which I strongly dispute not true. The British Colonial Administration could have known those conditions before and could not issue an administrative order to re-transfer these people back to Bahr El Ghazel Province in 1927 and three years later, re-transferred them again to Upper Nile Province. There is something being hided here in the history, and this makes the statements of brother Ayual unconformity and cannot convince any reader of article, unless somebody having the same mentality and intention.

I think Ayuel and his likeminded cousins are trying to distort the true histories of Ruweng transfer from place to place by creating fake histories to fit their false claims.  In another way around, they are trying the art of turning the impossible into possible through lies as a definition of politic from some experts. As from the above mentioned transfers of these people from Province to Province, one can understand that the verbal history which was the main reason for to and fro movements of these Dinka groups have now been confirmed though Ayual was trying to conceal it.

The true history was that long ago, the three groups of Ruweng (Alor, Awet and Kuil) migrated from Areas of Baliet and Atar in Upper Nile, crossed the River overthere to Chollo land while leaving behind at Korfulus some of their family members who were tired in that long journey and were renamed as Powany even nowadays. Those who had courage and strengths to go, headed their way northwest after crossing River then passing through Chollo land until they camped at Biw area where they day break at dawn and they named the ‘’Panaru’ in Dinka language’, and later on they moved to Riangnom (Present Pariang) and other areas around Lake Jaw northeast of Western Nuer region where Awet fought with Alor and the later was ousted from the area southwards crossing Nuer fields and grazing land westward till they camped temporary at a place called Biem Kat an area of Twic Dinka located west of Abiemnhiom County where they were forced again to cross the River back to Nuer land by owners (twic Dinka). The vulnerable Alor Ruweng had no other choice rather than negotiating settlement with Bul Nuer traditional leaders who allowed them to stay where they are at the moment and they called themselves (Alor) Nyang Chol Kuod associating with Nyang subsection of Kuach Section of Bul Nuer.

If the narrative of Ayuel was true, definitely the reason of the first transfer from Bahr El Ghazel to Nuba Mountains could be due to a fatal intersectional clashes that might have been erupted in 1900s between Twic, Ruweng and Jok with other group of Dinka at home. It could be the reason why Jaang jiok/Jok (Ngok of Abei) refused to come back to Bahr El Ghazel when the other three decided to come back in 1927. The same could be true with the transfer of Ruweng after three years in Bahr El Ghazel Province in which case another round of fresh deadly clash had erupted between Ruweng with Twic Dinka in the area of Tonj district and that forced their transfer to Upper Nile Province in 1941 where they became part of Bentiu sub-district of Fangak District of Western Nuer by then.

At the beginning of this text, you have read that the British had explored the northern Areas of Ghazel River, meaning, looking for empty places where to settle these victimized groups of Ruweng Dinka and the possible areas to accommodate them were those grazing fields of Nuer cattle; thus the British colonial administration had to press hard on Nuer, pushing them back to some distant in order to allow the settlement of Ruweng Dinka in that land. This was what might have created some frictions between Nuer and Dinka groups in the Western Upper Nile in those days, especially in the grazing fields but was overcome after some times. It was due to this reason and the other facts explained above which made it impossible for both the British Administrations and the then successive Governments of Sudan to create separate Ruweng Administration in thier new settlement areas in Western Nuer district/Unity State. If Ruweng are not comfortable with this fact and reality in this century, that is a different issue. Instead of labeling baseless allegation of being marginalized and excluded in Unity State by Nuer, they should thanks and appreciate Nuer for staying together with them in the area for 59 good years since 1941 compare to their unrest situations in Bahr El Ghazel, Nuba Mts and Kordufan Provinces in those periods. Many successive Governments of the then Sudan came and gone and nobody came up with an issue of neither land dispute nor being marginalized in the Area. Why had they been re-transferred after 3 years from Bahr El Ghazel Province which was a pure Dinka dominated province to a Nuer dominated district of Western Upper Nile? This clearly indicates that those Ruweng members and the cousins who are advising them wrongly are not sincere even to themselves and are not telling the truth. This improves that they have different agenda they want to pursue at the shadow of this Dinka led government.

If Nuer were not good people with to them at all, a small section of Alor Ruweng whom were dislodged mercilessly by their cousins of Awet in Panaru and again rejected forcefully by Twic Dinka at Biem Kat area at the same time could not exist in our midst. Bul Nuer colud have utilized the chance properly, confiscated their cattle and properties, eliminated their men and took their children and mothers as vulnerable captives to Nuer land where they could be assimilated easily and no more Alor Dinka could be seen in Abiem nhiom at the moment.

As for God fear and humanity feeling, Bul Nuer did not act that way; instead, they saved narrowly the lives of those vulnerable Ruweng from merciless jaws of the giant ancient Dinasours and welcome them as brothers and sisters in Nuer land. This is the reason why Alor have strong ties with Bul Nuer in Unity State. I wish people like Hon. Patariya Monyroor and the likes should know this instead of making noises in Juba for nonsense claims.

If such kind of human hospitality of Nuer in Unity State cannot be appreciated by Ruweng people, then they (Ruweng) can’t say thanks even to God who is giving them the simple air life (oxygen) they are inhaling and exhaling at the moment. How come that you were not stable in your tribe dominated land in the past and you were transferred to Nuer dominated region through difficulties in the past and you spent almost 60 years with Nuer in their dominated land, yet you are claiming that you have been mistreated and marginalized by Nuer? Does that have any logic at all?

3. Administrative Boundaries between Ruweng and Western Nuer Areas in Unity State

Ayuel jumped to issue with negative information proudly, showing himself that he is a PHD holder and somebody with legal background of education who can easily coin out something to deceive the world through media outlets with fake histories, illegal maps with fake imaginary lines which he and his likeminded brothers did to propagate with it loudly as an attempt to prove the creation of Ruweng Administrative Area. 

 I do agree of course that there are borders between Ruweng of Panaru (Parieng County) with neighboring Leek and Jikany Nuer of Greater Rubkotna Counties (i.e Guit nd Rubkotna Counties) in the East and Northeast of the State while Abiemnhiom and Mayom Counties in the West do have another different border. But, there is any NO Common Border point connecting Abiemnhiom with Pariang Counties at all (see the attached maps).

The ‘’blue tooth connection’’ being claimed between the two Counties by Santino Ayual Luangar and the likes is a wild lies and a fabricated political project of Jieng Council of Elders whose secrete behind is to grab the oil rich fields in the territories of the three counties bordering Pariang and Abiemnhiom Counties such that the claim may enable Ruweng to link up with their Cousins Jok in Abyei and again with Warrap so that they can altogether form later another separate Ngok State bordering Sudanese States of Kordufan. This is a long term strategic planning that they had been working on it secretly since 1990s while other South Sudanese people were busy fighting the common enemies, the successive regimes of Khartoum in the first Sudan civil war. All the maps and other justifications he put there are nonsense and rubbishes.

4. The Correct Borders between Ruweng and Nuer in Unity

Creating a tribal map for peaceful co-existence between ethnic communities is not just a matter of one sitting at the side of a table with his/her computer on top, modifying the previous maps by drawing the lines, filling the names of areas on the map in the ways he/she wants or dictating those features to the experts to put them the ways the claimer wants to achieve his/her goals. No, it is not that way at all brother Ayuel. It is a fact and truth finding presentation with mutual agreement and acceptance on both sides so that communities stay peacefully in their God given lands as good neighbors. You and your group should also know that claiming of land ownership dating back to decays of the ‘’ancient human waves for settlements’’ in this world is long gone; otherwise, it is like scratching old wounds whose new pains would be more serious than the previous ones, fact must be told.

You should also know very well that when the British Colonial Administration was about to quit away from Sudan, it had properly marked the tribal lands all over the Country including the Southern Sudanese tribal lands and the areas we are talking about in Western Upper Nile.  Locations of those tribal land marks and boundaries are still clear and known to everybody within those neighboring communities and those who used to participate physically in the seasonally paved roads repair and clearance in those areas during those days are still alive and know their border points very well.

Ayuel and his group are disputing the map of 79 Counties of South Sudan which clearly states the correct boundaries between Ruweng and Nuer in that Western Upper Nile district (Unity State) which was drawn when all Sudanese States were subdivided into 133 districts by the time Riek Machar was still a Rebel Commander in the bush of Southern Sudan fighting the then successive regimes of Khartoum. It was not Riek Machar made map as Ayual is claiming. It was a map of all 133 districts of the then when Unity State was subdivided into four districts (Pariang for Kuil and Awet, Mayom for Bul & Alor, Rubkotna for Leek & Jikany and Leer for Jagei, Dok, Haak & Nyuon). It was endorsed by all Sudanese people working in that Government by then in which members of Ruweng Dinka like Makuach Deng Makuach, late Joch Kiir and the rest were present and it became a lawful document(see fig: 1 the attached Map  below).

Ayuel was claiming that the map was not recognized by all South Sudanese and the government of South Sudan, then, who recognized that land grabbing map of JCE? It was created with the aim to pursuing the agenda of 32 States (recently abolished) while the country was at war and it is favoring only the tribal interest of Jieng and was not approved by all stake holders. It was illegally done to claim ownership of land of other tribes in the Country and this is the reason why the 32 villages have just been thrown into dustbin recently. It is very shameful for a PHD holder to encourage tribal disputes by propagating falsely and deceiving the whole world with fake maps by cheating on what is not necessary true. Brother Ayuel, you should know that the peaceful co-existence of both Dinka and Nuer tribes in Unity State matter a lot like that of other tribes sharing other States in the Country, and the presence of our different ethnic diversity in anya given State in South Sudan is our pride and that gives the true beautiful color of our Country. They should not be disturbed with nonsense claims based on tribal political agenda and personal greedy for wealth. 

a) Border between Bul and Alor (Mayom and Abiem nhiom Counties)

Both counties lie west of the State with the Abiemnhiom further west of Mayom County where it (Abiemnhiom County) borders the areas of Warrap west and Abyei northwest.There is no common border points between Rubkotna and Abiem nhiom Counties leave alone the border between Paraiang and Abiem nhiom Counties which brother Ayual was trying to connect through what I called a Blue tooth connection. It is Mayom County which border Rubkotna County east and both which have common border points in some areas with Missaria in the northen directions. Example of some areas of Mayom County bodering Missiraia nomads in the northern direction are Panyileng, Kotngong Nyang, Kai Kang and many others at Pan Maloah just to mentioned a few.

b) Borders between Ruweng and Jikany (Pariang and Guit Counties)

Pariang County of Ruweng Dinka of Panaru lies Northeast to Eastern direction of Guit County of Western Jikany Nuer in Unity State. The villages/areas of Jikany located at the extreme land endpoints bordering Ruweng villages are Let (Jikany village) located about 20 km north of Kuer Bona (Manga oil fields FPF), Jikany Garak of Tut Both (Southern Garak) bordering Ruweng Garak (Northern), Rungun, Buolyar, Biem Chol and Geat bordering Biw village (Ruweng village) in the east and Lel Guan Yay located southeast of Biw village. This Lel Guan Yay village is an island at the triple meeting point of Ghazel, Jabel and White Nile Rivers forming Lake No locally known in Nuer as Pul Karatuom. This Island was settled first in the late 1890s by a man from W. Jikany called Yay Jany during period when the series of floods covered most parts of the region between 1880s-1890s (see fig 2. Western Nuer map of 1954 below).Fig 2. Map of Western Nuer Territory, Source: JIT 1954


c) Borders between Ruweng Dinka and Leek Nuer

The correct border between Ruweng (Paraing County) and Leek Nuer (Rubkotna County) lies between the following villages whose civil population was displaced many times mainly by seasonal floods, insecurity and the oil operation activities in which some of those areas have been renamed as oil wells, oil fields, CFPs or FPFs etc.

Ayuel said in his claim that during those days of British colonial administration,‘’ Ngeer, Bugo and Miorcigiu  communities  of Ruweng were responsible for seasonal road repairs  from Pariang Town to Kubur Nyabol near Yoanyang village of Rubkotna County.’’This is totally nonsense and not true. It is unfounded claim which is a clear indication of land grabbing purpose. Let me correctly inform brother Ayual who was totally misinformed wrongly by his wrong advisors that the midpoint between those Ruweng and Leek Communities during the seasonal road repair long ago and until 1982 before SPLM/A took armed the following year was Nokpuot River not Kubur Nyabol as he was deceiving the world.

 Nyabola is a mispronouunced named for Nyaboola village of the Padaang Nuer section located northwest of Rubkotna town bordering Pariak area which is now part of Yoanyang Buma of Chior subsection of Chieng Gany Nuer. Kubur Nyabol is located less than 4km from the current UNMISS Camp north of Rubkotna Airport. The name Kubur Nyabol refers to a small bridge connecting the said village with Rubkotna town at Pariak village and that name was introduced by Northerners during the construction of the Heglig-Rubkotna paved road by American Based Chevron Oil Company in late 1975. The name Nyabol was meant for Nyaboola village like the way they were saying Rubkona while the correct name from the owner is Rubkotna. 

How come that Ruweng members of Panaru were participating in the seasonal road repair up to that point? To show that Ayual was totally wrong in his claim, this road was a company road which had never been repaired by civilians like the government roads.

Ayuel claim for this area is a serious a misleading and a clear intention for land grabbing policy designed by Ruweng elites to achieve the said agenda, but I believe even some members from Ruweng will disagree with Ayuel’s unfounded claim because this piece of inform is telling the readers that the man (Ayuel) is propagating for what is not true and most of the explanations he gave about the boundaries between Ruweng Area and Unity State were 90% lies, nonsense and rubbishes and disqualifies the whole claim. The Heglig-Rubkotna road was for Chevron oil Company and had never been repaired by civilians.

Rubkotna County has common border with Baggara/Misseriya nomads of Western Kordufan at the northern areas of Yaak(Heglig), Gethloai(Kersana), Dor Barkor, Parow, Barbar(Missaria called it Baweer after Bawar Tut Ruei who settled there in 1920s), Thanyier, Wangbieth and Pachol just to mention a few.

i) Nokpuot River

The two Counties (Rubkotna and Pariang) have common border point at Nokpuot River located West of Muot and Darbim villages (Leek areas) which is West of Nyil and Panakuel villages (Ruweng Dinka areas) and it is approximately 25 km northeast of Unity Oil Field located at Chotjiok village of Leek. It is this Nokpuot River where Padaang section of Leek Nuer used to meet with Ruweng sections during the time of dry season road repairs in those colonial periods till 1982 when SPLM/A took arms to wage war against then Sudan Government of President Jafer Nimeri the following year, 1983. The famous border meeting point between Ruweng Dinka and Leek Nuer well known to everybody in the State.

In 2009, administrative disputes occurred between the administrations of Rubkotna and Pariang Counties by the time Gen. Ruai Kuol Jal was the Commissioner of Rubkotna County and Mabek Lang De Bilkuei was the Commissioner of Pariang County when Gen. Taban Deng Gai, the incumbent Vice President of RTGoNU was the Governor of Unity State by then. The dispute was caused by control of areas where oil production was commencing and taxation fees taken from goods coming from Western Kordufan State through Heglig-Unity road north of the State.

As to solve those administrative disputes, A State ministerial committee was formed the same year to go and see the claiming border points between the two counties and that committee was chaired by Hon. Franco Duoth Diew who was the State Minister of Local Government and Law enforcement by then. Hon. Franco Duoth led the Committee to that border points in Nokpuot with each County Commissioner attending the visit to that border location point along with some members from his County administration. It was found that the meeting point was the middle of a small bridge crossing the Nokpuot River from West to East. The River divides the land east and west, meandering northwards to join the streams coming down from Nuba Mts and Southwards direction to meet Ghazel River. The road repair commenced at midway on this bridge Eastwards for those of Ruweng toward Pariang town and westwards for Leek Nuer(Padaang section)  until they meet Chier section at Kuor River about 7 km from Chotjiok village (the present Unity Oil Field). The claims of Ruweng People for those areas were disqualifies as baseless in both cases.

The only government’s road that used to be repaired by civilians was Bentiu-Kai luoy road that started immediately at the northen Bank of Ghazel River westward to Boaw village where it crossed Ngol River to Dhorboor and then turned northward to Wunbut village and  Kai Luoy Town (known also as Kal Thay-nyaang) and from there it turn eastward to Dul, Kuor, north of Chotjiok village (where the present Unity CPF is located, South of Chotjiok village) passed through several villages until it reached Nokpuot River far east Leek territory and from there crossed the River eastward passing through villages of Ruweng toward Pariang town from there to Kadugli in the Nuba Mountains in the northn. The nearest Ruweng villages from the eastern side of Nokpuot River in those days were Nyil and Panakuel where Dinka men who used to participate in the yearly dry season road repairs took rest after the tiresome jobs of road repairs.

ii) Payangay Area

Another border point of potential dispute between the two counties is the Payangay area (Nuer Name) which the Dinka called Panakuai. The area is entrance point of goods from Heglig to South Sudan territory. As it is the only border gateway, the administrations of the two counties have beena disputing over it for its potential business activities and its financial incomes (taxation). Long ago, when the series floodings were disturbing the Nuer settlement in Western Nuer land between 1880s-1890s, the area of Payangay was inhabited by two Gawar Sections namely Chier and Padaang whose villages were located at Kuer Payangay (high ground covered with forest of Balanita aegypttiaanca  trees (laalob trees) mixed with red acacia trees at the western side of Unity-Heglig road). The surrounding areas West, North towards Yaak village (Heglig), Northeast as well as Southern territory toward Rotriaak village were the grazing fields for their cattle which used to be Camped at those points. These two Gawar sections (Chier and Padaang) settled first in Rotriah (Lalob Vllage) in the South and Yaak Area in the north (present Heglig Hospital). That very area was a home land of Padaang section of Leek Nuer subtribe whose prominent family leader was Panyang Geng whose sons Bany and Kor remained in the areas for years until late 1900s.

They used to grazing their cattle in Payangay and areas located east of Yaak village where they  met with some clan men of Awet Dinka during the dry season cattle camps at some points East of Heglig current Bioremediation Project(where the waste water from the CPF is treated). When the rainy seasons commences mostly in May, the two communities departed peacefully, Nuer returned back to their home areas of Yaak and Payangay and Ruweng Dinka returned back to Panyang village and other others. The situation was so normal and people were living peacefully as friends and in laws. In addition to the above two sections of Leek Nuer ( Padaang and Chier) was Chieng Chuol section. The three sections had been resisting several invasions and raids from Arab Nomads/Baggara (Missaria, Awedleet Omraan, Palata) in the said areas for so many years.

They had lost many lives and a lot of properties were looted in Yaak and Payangay Villages.  One of the victims of that time was Kor Panyang whom was caught while grazing his cattle in the field between the two villages by Arab Nomads, he was brutally tortured to the extent that he was castrated, left half dead and bleeding and all his cows were taken. His brother Bany Panyang discovered him late in the evening and took him home. Bany Panyang was the father of Thay (nicked name as Thay jokuei) who was the Father of Turoal Thay who settled in Yaak for some years before he was pushed out of the area by the same Arab nomads in the late 1900s in which case he moved westward and settled at Thanyier and Paraw in Barkor area near Buon-Juul, Genechirchir and Wangbieth villages west and southwest of Yaak (Heglig Field).

All those areas long both upper and lower banks of Ngol River (now known as El Har and Karat Oil Fields) were the settlement areas of Leek Nuer known as Dor-Barkor where Turoal and his in laws Thep Ret Chiee, Mayual Kuay, Bawar Tut Ruei and many others from Chieng Chuol section of Leek Nuer were bordering at Barbar, Buonjuol, Pachol and many others villages (just to mentioned a few) were settling. All were raided also several times in those areas by the same Missaria backing by the then Sudanese government until 1984 when all Leek sections were swiped out of the northern Bank of Ghazel River and were forcefully pushed to the Southern by the time Baggara who were using modern automatic weapons against the spearmen (Leek  Nuer) who had no rifles to response the terrifying sounds of the morden automatic weapons like Jim 3 rifles and others machine guns used by Baggara nomads. The government interests for carrying this project was mainly for dual reasons, (1) To enable the Baggara/Missaria nomads occupied the whole lands, secure green pasture and water sources for their animals. (2) To enable the government to explore oil in that land as much as it wanted without paying compensations for the damages of properties to the owners (see the attached Map of Nuer territory of 194).

The Map of Nuer Territory taken in 1954, section 1:3,000,000

Fig 3. The Map of Nuer Territory taken in 1954, section 1:3,000,000

Part 2

5. Ruweng being marginalized by Nuer in the Western Upper Nile/Unity State

 It has become a habit always that when somebody wants to quit away from other, he/she tries to coin out something bad against the accused so as to qualify the reason separation for exit even if it is not true. Likewise brother Ayuel claimed that ‘’Ruweng suffered serious political marginalization and exclusion by the successive Unity State governments which had been serving only the interests of Nuer tribe in the State for so long’’. He also falsely stated the following 7 points of accusation against Nuer people as to justify the reasons why Ruweng are demanding a separate administrative Area today. The 7 points he said are as following:

a) Unity State Governments were run by Nuer and were for Nuer.

b) Dinka Language was banned from being broadcasted over State Radio.

c) Parliamentary sessions were conducted in Nuer Language.

d) No single Dinka student had ever been given a scholarship.

e)  Knowledge of Nuer Language was a requirement for lending State Jobs.

f) State policies denied health services to Ruweng areas.

g) State apparatus (police and military) were used by Nuer to occupy Ruweng land.

All the aforementioned claims are baseless, unfounded and misleading allegations. Our brothers and sisters Ruweng were respected and honored as full citizens of Unity State and had the rights of citizenship guaranteed in all constitutions of Western Upper Nile/Unity State like that of any other citizen. There was no discrimination policy in the State at all. The history speaks by itself. When they were transferred  to Western Nuer region in the past, they were welcomed and stayed with Nuer in this area for a complete period of 59 years now, if such allegations were true, they could have claimed their separate administration long, long time ago not in this year. Ayual and those who coined those allegations are trying not only to justify reasons for their exit but also creating bad reputation for all Nuer in Western Upper Nile. However, I do believe that it is not all Ruweng people who are claiming these nonsense, but only a few elites with selfish and tribal mindset who are doing this hopeless campaign teaming up with likeminded individuals from their cousins of Dinka Padaang (their former family members) against Nuer as was clearly seen from the petition they wrote to IGAD, TRIOKA, AU, UN and other peace partners during the time of Peace deal final discussion which was about the number of States and their boundaries. Their motivation in doing this is only that they see President Salva Kiir hails from Dinka tribe and this has given them courage and hope to implement their tribal agenda of that kind.

As to prove that Luongar was not correct in all his points above, let me first begin briefly with some of the concerns and later details for two issues (their participations in both State and national governments).

a) Language

The official Language of South Sudan stated in the Country’s Constitution and that of the Unity State is English Language follows by Arabic Language which is well spoken all over the State. All the public gathering including rallies, meetings of the State council of Ministers and parliamentary sessions are addressed in English and Arabic languages because majority of people know how to speak in Arabic Language. There is no point to address Parliamentary sessions in Nuer Language like Ayual said.  All honorable members of State Legislative Assembly spoke both languages very fluently, and if one cannot make it well in English, he/she can switch automatically to Arabic Language which was the Language of majority in the State.

 In public rallies where there were many civilians who could not speak either English or Arabic language, a speaker could have a good translator or could do some clarity in Nuer or Dinka so that the sitting majority could get exactly what was being discussed, any this is very common. For instance, Late Dr. John Garang, the FVP of the then Sudan after CPA, made some clarity in Dinka Language when he said SPLM/A and NCP had signed CPA and become ‘’Akume Tok, acie Akume karew’’(i.e SPLM & NCP had signed CPA and became one government not two governments) while he was addressing the huge crowd of all Sudanese people(both Arab and African origins with different mother tongues) in Khartoum green square at the time of his reception in 2005. People were just laughing at him and nobody took it as serious conern why the 2nd man in the Country (FVP) addressed such historical gathering in Dinka Language. What was wrong if for instance, Gen. Taban or anybody could make some clarity in a certain rally?

b) Dinka Language was banned from Unity State Radio

Ayuel said Dinka Language was banned from being broadcasted in Unity State Radio. This is not true at all. During the time of Governor Taban Deng, the State Radio broadcasted news in four languages namely English, Arabic, Nuer and Dinka. Mr. Mamuon Diew Kaya was the one heading the Department of Media Communication as Director, assisted by the following staffs in announcing the daily News in those four Languages news and staffs were:

1. Mr. Dickson Gatluak Jok Nyuot (Nuer) for English Language News.

2. Mrs. Ajok Chol Malual (Dinka) for Arabic Language News

3. Mr. Banyang Wang Gai (Nuer) for Nuer Language News and

4. Mr. Simon Majak Deng de Dhowel (Dinka) for Dinka Language News

During Election of 2010 and Referendum exercise of 2011, all the campaigns messages were carried out in those languages, and Unity State Radio was the best Radio covering most parts of South Sudan. The above mentioned staffs were the ones who had been speaking out all the information in those days in the said languages. I believe, Nuer and Dinka from other States who used to air out their comments through Unity State Radio can approve me right on this issue. When did Dinka Language ban from being broadcasted in the State Radio? If it was during the crises of 2013 through the whole period of war time, that may be due to the abnormality of the war situation and it is likewise, no Nuer could speak Nuer Language in Pariang town at that critical time.

c) Knowledge of Nuer Language was a requirement for lending State Jobs.

Ayuel said knowledge of Nuer language was one of the conditions for lending jobs to State citizens. This is total rubbish and nonsense; all State employees (officials) got their employment opportunities through their knowledge and capacities. There is no condition as such in the employment policies of Unity State. There was a State Ministry of Public Services and Human Resources Development established in 2010 after election. That was only the institution given the mandate of carrying out all recruitments processes for employment based on Public Services regulations. The first Minister who was appointed for this important Ministry was Hon. Joseph Arop Malual who hails from Alor Ruweng Dinka of Abiemnhiom County. Where did Ayual Luongar get that baseless allegation?

d) No single Dinka student had ever been given a scholarship.

The Ministry of Education in the State had become a professional institution for the People of Ruweng.  The following persons were State Ministers of Education in different times with different governments:  1. Makuch Deng Makuach (3 times and Hon), 2. Hon. Joseph Arop Malual (1 time),  3. Hon.Them Machar Kuol(1 time) and 4. Hon. Angelo Chol Dongway(1 time). If these brothers from Ruweng were Ministers of Education for different period of times, is there any logic at all for Ruweng people to claim that their children did not get scholarship in Unity State? Who can believe this nonsense claim?

e) State Governments run by Nuer and were for Nuer interests

Brother Ayuel said that all the State Governments were run by Nuer and were for Nuer. This is unfounded allegation. All the Unity State governments were run by both Nuer and Dinka (Ruweng) and were for the benefits of all citizens including Ruweng Dinka since the time they were transferred to Western Upper Nile province. No State apparatus had ever been used by Nuer to occupy Dinka Land in the State like what Ayuel was claiming, instead, Ruweng have been the ones trying to grab Nuer land through government backing. Eg. Attack of Jikany at Kuerbone (Manga) in August 2013 and the recent insistence for grabbing the whole northern Nuer territory through Region backing can truly prove my argument.                                                                            

Below are some of the clear evident which can prove it to the readers that the two community members (Dinka and Nuer) were staying peacefully in those days and the State governments were run by all of them for the interests of all not only for Nuer as Ayuel said.

6. Cultural and Social ties

Culturally and Socially, Ruweng and Nuer in Unity State have intermingled through mutual marriages and friendship. Some have common traditional ties socially, for instance, Leek, Jikany and Bul Nuer used to had had one traditional dancing with long chips/yoth (tiny twisted cotton like strings (sometimes known as bon) worn by ladies around their waists during traditional dancing which almost reassembled that of Ruweng Dinka to some extent; however, the said Nuer group in Northern Area have changed that traditional dancing nowadays with what they called‘’nyabebet dancing’’ which is different from the traditional dancing (called bul thor) being practiced by other Nuer groups (Jagey, Dok, Haak and Nyuong) in the Southern Area of the State.

7. Customary Courts

Nuer and Dinka chiefs used to settle crimes and other civilian disputes under one Main Court in Bentiu town and all were given respects as traditional leaders of the Western Upper Nile District. Sometimes, they shifted the venues of the main Court from Bentiu to Leer, Pariang, Mankien and other places while settling civilians’ disputes (especially youth crimes of sectional fightings across the District) jointly without discrimination.

In 1967-1972, a Main Court was established under the Chairmanship of Chief Malual Wuon Kuoth (Nyuong Nuer), Deputized by Makuei De Bilkuei(Dinka kuil) with membership of one chief from the sub-tribes of the two communities (Dinka & Nuer). Chief Makuei Bilkuil and Jaw Jiel Koch were very vocal in those courts where uncle Makuei introduced the word ‘’thatdeka’’ whenever he got the root course of the problem after tough investigation.

In 1979-1980, Chief Jaw Jiel Koch from Ruweng(Awet) was the one heading another powerful Main Court in Bentiu Town where the court managed to settle a lot of complicated problems in that period of time.

8. District/State Governments.

Ayuel said that the successive State governments have been Nuer governments run by Nuer and served the interest of Nuer only. Again that is another unfounded claim. Nuer in Unity State do consider fair and equal sharing of everything with their brothers and sisters of Ruweng Dinka.

During that colonial District administration policy, Bentiu was promoted to a full district level in 1931, the tribal areas were nine (9) namely that of Nyuong, Dok, Haak, Jagey, W. Jikany, Leek, Bul, Alor and Panaru which are now translated into 9 Counties of Panyijiar, Mayiandit, Leer, Koch, Guit, Rubkotna, Mayom, Abiemnhiom and Pariang respectively.

As for political representations after Sudan got independence in 1956, Bentiu district was divided into two main national geographical constituencies namely (1) Ghazel and (2) Jebel constituencies north and south of the district respectively. Ghazel constituency was named after Ghazel River and was for Leek, Bul, Alor and Panaru Ruweng of Kuil and Awet, while Jebel Constituency referred to Jebal River and was for Jikany, Jagey, Dok, Haak and Nyuon people.

Each of the two constituencies was also sub-divided into local constituencies as following:

a) Ghazel geographical constituency was re-divided into two local constituencies known as

(1) Bul-Alor Geographical constituency and (2) Leek-Ruweng Geographical constituency

b) Jebel Geographical constituency was subdivided into two local constituencies also known as

(1) Jikany-Jagey geographical constituency and (2) Dok/Hak-Nyuong geographical constituency

The participations for all people of Bentiu District to both National and Regional parliaments were recommended through those geographical constituencies mentioned above. Just to mention a few examples, below is how people of Bentiu District participated in both governments in the past.

In 1956 after the country got independence, Ghazel constituency was represented by the following people in the national constituency:

 Hon. Lugi Ruweng (Bul Nuer) was the first MP representing Bul and Alor while Hon. Chan De Bilkuei  Ruweng) was representing Leek and Ruweng of Panaru in the same National Legislative Assembly in Khartoum the same year.

In 1977, when the Regional Assembly (in Juba) was formed after Addis Ababa Peace Agreement (in 1972) between the then Sudan government and Anyanya1 Movement, Late Hon. William Waskh Dador (Nuer) was representing Leek-Ruweng Constituency while Hon. Puok Bol Mut was representing Bul-Alor Constituency in the regional Assembly (Juba) respectively.

In 1979, Hon. Zaki Garang De Thon (Dinka Ruweng of Panaru) represented the whole Ghazel Geographical Constituency in the National Assembly in Khartoum while Hon. Peter Wen Majur (Ruweng of Panaru) and Franco Mayik (Dinka Alor) were representing Leek-Ruweng and Alor-Bul constituencies respectively in the Regional Assembly in Juba the same year.

In 1982, Hon. Charles Kuot Chatiem (Bul Nuer) was representing Alor-Bul Constituency while the same Hon. Peter Wen Majur (Ruweng of Panaru) was also representing Ruweng-Leek Constituency in the same regional Legislative Assembly in Juba.

In 2010 election, the same scenario repeated itself, when Hon. Majok Daw (a SPLM Candidate) was again representing Leek  and Ruweng of Panaru in the national Legislative Assembly (Khartoum).

Where is the marginalization policy against Ruweng people that Ayual and his group are claiming about? Or do they think that those Leek and Bul Nuer who had voted for those Dinka men were during those elections were foolish? Of course not at all, it is the nature of Nuer generosity that they favor minority rights whenever dividing food. It is a God gift for Nuer to have pity on vulnerable ones and served them first as the way of fairness and equity. Do not take this as the weakness for Nuer brother Ayual, it is through this kind humanity that can bring us people of South Sudan together not the opposite one around.

I still invite my readers again to have a look here for Ruweng participations in the previous State and national governments since when Unity State was established in 1994 as a separate State from Upper Nile State up to SPLM government time 2005- 2015.

9. Unity State Governments (1994-2015)

i) In 1994-1995, when Unity State was established, late Hon. Uncle Thomas Kume Khan was the first Governor. The State had a limited number of ministerial portfolios (7 ministries) and 48 MPs in which there were four districts namely Pariang, Rubkotna , Mayom and Leer as mentioned above.  In that State Government, Ruweng were represented by the following persons:

1)  Hon. Makuach Deng Makuach (Dinka Ruweng),Minister of Education, (2) Hon. Joch Kiir (Panaru), Minister of Peace, (3) Zaki Garang De Thon (Panaru), Chairperson, (4) Arop Turuk (Alor), Chairperson, (4) Hon. Arap Daw (Panaru), member, (2) Hon. Jorjet Lat Mading, NLA khartoum (Panaru), (4), Hon. Joseph Deng (Alor), member, (5) Hon. Ojak Chol Kuod (Alor), member, (6) Hon. Micheal Mayar Mading, NLA, Khartoum (Panaru).

ii) 1n 1995-1997, when Hon. Micheal Mayil Chuol was the State Governor by then, Ruweng were represented by the following persons:

1) Hon. Makuach Deng Makuach (Panaru), Minister of Health,  2) Hon. Joch Kiir, (Panaru), Minister of Social welfare, 3) The same people representing Ruweng in the previous State Committee of Salvation continued.

iii) 1n 1997-1999, when Taban Deng Gai was the State Governor (1st time) after the signing of Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA) between the then Sudan Government and SSIM/A, Ruweng had 1 minister and  5 members of State Legislative assembly and these were:

(1) Hon. Joch Kiir (Ruweng), Minister of Social welfare, (2) Hon. Chol Deng De Akiir ( Ruweng), Speaker (2nd Assembly), (3) Hon. Jorjet Lat Mading (Ruweng)member, (4) Hon. Arop Daw  (Ruweng)member,(5) Hon. Mayik Chol Cham ( Ruweng) member.

iv)  In 1999-2001, when Hon. Manasa Magok Rundial was the then State Governor, Ruweng were represented by Hon. Makuach Deng Deng(Panaru), Minister of Education. The State Legislative Assembly was closed down.

V)  In 2001-2002, when Hon. John Dor Majok was the State Governor by then, Ruweng were represented also by Hon. Makuach Deng Makuach (Panaru), minister of Education. The State Legislative Assembly was still not opened.

vi)  1n 2002-2005, when Hon.Joseph Nguen Monytuil was the State Governor, Ruweng and Alor were represented by the following persons:

1) Hon. Makuach Deng Makuach (Panaru), Deputy Governor & Minister of Education, 2) Hon. Chol Deng de kiir(Panaru), Chairperson of Legal Affairs Committee, State Legislative Assembly 3) and five(5) other members of State Legislative Assembly.

vii)  In 2005-2010, when Gen. Taban Deng Gai was the State Governor (2nd time) during CPA, Ruweng and Alor were represented in the State government by the following persons:

1) Hon. Majok Daw (Ruweng), State Minister of Agriculture

2) Hon. Pataria Monyroor, State Minister of Parliamentary Affairs

3) Hon. Joseph Arop Malual, Minister of Education (when Pataria Manyroor was removed)

4) Hon. Deborah Ajok (Ruweng of Panaru), member of National Leg. Assembly (Khartoum)

5) Hon. Jorjiet Lat Mading de Bilkuei (Ruweng), member of National Legislative Assembly (Juba)

6) Hon. Chol Deng De kiir(Ruweng), Speaker of State Legislative Assembly

7) Hon. Michael Mayar Mading, Chairperson

viii)  In 2005- August 2013, after election and independence of South Sudan in 2011, when Gen. Taban Deng became again the State Governor(3rd time), Ruweng were represented by the following people at both State and National Governments:

1) Hon. Majok Majak(Panaru), Minister of Roads and Bridges (GOSS)

2) Hon. Majok Daw(Panaru), member of National Legislative Assembly (Khartoum to Juba)

3) Hon. Deborah Ajok(Panaru), member of National Legislative Assembly, Juba

4) Hon. Them Machar Kuol(Panaru), Minister of Education

5) Hon. Angelo Chol Dongway(Panaru), Minister of Education (after Them Machar’s removal)

6) Hon. Deborah Kur Mayil(Panaru), Minister of Health

7) Hon. Joseph Arop Malual(Alor), Minister for Public Services

8) Hon. Michael Mayar Mading (Panaru), State Advisor for Affairs of Political parties

9) Hon. William Mac Deng (Panaru), State Advisor for Local Government

10) Hon.Thon Mabek (Panaru), State Advisor for Youth

11) Hon. Mayom Yak Kur(Panaru), Chairperson of Animal Resource committee at State Parliament, he became Deputy speaker when Chol Deng was removed from the post in 2013.

12) Hon. Chol Awunlith (Alor), Chairperson of Local Government at the State Parliament

13) Hon. Peter Makuach (Panaru), Deputy Chairperson

14) Hon. Ngor Marial (Panaru), member State Legislative Assembly

15) Hon. Awathip Nyok Kueth (Panaru), member State Legislative Assembly

15) Mr. Isaac Jaw(Panaru), Unity State coordinator in Juba

vix) In  August 2013-2017, when Hon. Joseph Nguen Monytuil became the State Governor replacing Hon.Taban Deng, Ruweng were represented by the following persons in the State Government:

1)  Hon. Mabek Lang De Bilkuei (Panaru), Deputy Governor

2)  Hon.  Arop Turuk (Alor), Minister of Animal Resources

3)  Hon. Joseph Arop Malual (Alor), Minister of Education

4) The same people representing Ruweng in State Legislative Assembly continued but with changing positions of Chairpersons of the specialized Committee.

As one can see, all those mentioned above were constitutional post holders only apart from senior civil servants working in both State and national governments through the State recommendations.

In the light of the above mentioned facts, where is the marginalization of Ruweng in Western Upper Nile/Unity State governments that brother Ayual was talking about when they had been represented in that way? Can this claim be one of the genuine reasons for Ruweng exit from Unity State? I don’t think so, unless the judge is foolish.

How come Ayuel Longar was complaining that Unity State governments were run by Nuer and were for Nuer while brothers and sisters from Ruweng were holding key positions in the State Governments in the successive governments mentioned above?  The above mentioned facts nullify all baseless claims and allegations of Ayuel Longar and his likeminded cousins. If they are complaining for the post of Governorship in the State, that is a different issue which can be discussed separately but not this way. State constitution is not a big deal, it can be discussed and be corrected if their claim make sense for that.

During the periods of 1994-1997, and from 2000-2005, the appointments of State constitutional post holders were controlled by successive Sudanese Regimes in Khartoum; the policy of those days for South Sudanese politicians was that ‘’everybody had his/her own Jalaba’’ to lobby for political appointment. Whom can brother Ayual blame in those handpicking policies of Jalaba(Northerners) of those daysl? Even Nuer themselves in Unity State were seriously claiming that some of them were favored most than others by the Regimes.

During the KPA (1997-2000) and CPA (2005-2010), the governorship position was given to Rebel Movements through those agreements and in both cases, their leaderships preferred Cde. Taban Deng as capable cadre than any other to that post; hence, was appointed accordingly. In 2010 election, Taban Deng re-assumed the his 3rd term as State Governor after wining that election by all means he did in front of us all, and those who were claiming of having voted 90% for Governor Taban were Dinka Ruweng of Panaru who he (Taban) had rewarded with lion share in his July elected Government as you can see above.

If you are for that issue, just prepare your potential candidate for the upcoming State governorship election after R-TGoNU so that he/she competes with others. If he/she wins, then there is no more questions, he/she will assume the post because it is a constitutional right guaranteed for every citizen of Unity State to contest for any post he/she interested for like what Peter Wen and Majok Daw and others did in the past and they succeeded. It is a matter of winning trust of the people when they see that you are capable to unite them and provide the necessary services they needs.

10.  Ruweng patients denied Kala zar medical services, SPLM/A time (1987-1989)

Ayuel is counting the death of Ruweng people of kalazar disease as a genocide planned by Dr. Riek Machar when he (Riek) was a Zonal Commander of Western Upper Nile operation between1986-1990.

In 1985, the leadership of the Movement decided to unite all the SPLM/A forces in Western Upper Nile which were fighting the enemies with different commands and orders, then General Paul Dor Lampuar who was by then a Major was assigned as a Zonal Commander of all SPLA Forces operating in the area.  1st Lt Simon Manyang Kiir was in charge of SPLA Forces operating in Panaru area. There was good comradeship cooperation between the SPLA forces. When the war intensified in Panaru because the enemy troops were attacking SPLA Forces in that area every now and then given the nature of area (no natural features like rivers or Mountains to confine the movement of the enemy troops in one direction) like in the Southern Bank of Ghazel River which is characterized by crosscutting Rivers, Major Paul instructed Cde. Simon Manyang to evacuate the all civilians from that war zone in Panaru to the Southern Bank of Ghazel River to stay in Leek and Jikany areas until the enemies forces were driven back  to Nuba Mountains and that was done successfully.

 When Dr. Riek Machar, the FVP of R-TGoNU was by then a Major and member of SPLA Military High Command Council was transferred to replace Major Paul Dor in WUN operation in 1986, he found that report cases of unknown disease had already claimed lives of many people in Jikany areas of Ngakpuar, Leljaakni, Kuach and other villages at the vicinities of Duar village.

Nyakuojuok Time (1987-1988)

One of the terrible periods of famine in Western Upper Nile which Ruweng could not forget the hospitality of Nuer in the region was 1987-1988 when people were feeding on ‘’leaves of thow tree (lalob) and creeping planst’’ which the Dinka called Nyakuojuok. Nuer women for God fear and humanity were kindly sharing the little resources they had with Dinka women who came from Panaru two years before due to the insecurity situation in the Panaru Area as mentioned above. Those Dinka families were accommodated among Jikany Nuer in the areas of Kedet, Niemna, Nyathor, Wathnyotni and many others just to mention a few while in Leek areas they were in Arik (Panhieny), Riaydeng (they called it Pan Thep and the name upto the moment), Nyawal, Dhornoor, Rubnyal and many others just to mention a few.

It was this time when the fatal disease outbreak hit the area badly, then Dr. Riek called ICRC Organization to assess the situation from the ground and then intervened with urgent treatment of the patients. When the said organization carried out its assessment in the whole Western Upper Nile, it official Report on that findings was that there were an emergency situation of Kalazar outbreak which had began initially in Jikany, Jagey and later to other areas in regions. Therefore, a Kalazar Treatment Centre was established in Duar(Jikany), with three other emergency centres in Niemna(also Jikany), Wochok(Bul) and Leer (Dok) for the same purpose. The organization found it difficult to establish an emergency clinical center in Panaru Area simply because of two reasons. 1) The area was a gateway for enemy troops’ entrance; hence, it was not a safe place at all for patients to be assembled there. 2) No nearby water sources to be used for patients’ services like in the other areas where the Health Centres were established.

Hence, Niemna was meant for patients coming from Panaru and those from the northern Jikany areas far away from Duar, while Wochok was meant for Bul patients. The same arrangement was that Leek patients and others with critical conditions referred from those three emergency Centres were being transported direct to Duar Clinical Centre. In the Southern part of the region, Leer was meant for patients of Kalazar and TB diseases coming from Nyuon, Dok and Haak areas.

 It was not Riek Machar at all who denied Ruweng patients’ access to kalazar medical services in their own area as Ayual was lying. It was the situation of insecurity in Panaru Area which did not allow ICRC Organization to establish Health Centre for Kalazar Patients there, even if Riek had a wish for that, the ICRC administration did not. If death of Ruweng people because of kalazar disease be termed as genocide and be counted against Dr. Riek Machar by Ayual and his group, what about those Jikany and Jagey Nuer people who perished in thousands at the same time in their own areas because of the same disease? Did Riek Machar have any problem with Jikany and Jagey by that time? Ayual must be honest and sincere to himself before others.

11. Genocides (1990s, 2013 & 2014)

Ayuel was claiming that there was ethnic lynching in the State targeting elements of Dinka Ruweng on their ethnicities during the above mentioned periods. Yes, there were cases of brutal ethnic revenges and retaliations attacks after the violence eruptions in those times which claimed lives but not to extend of genocides as Ayual is exaggerating. Nuer attacked Dinka and Dinka attacked Nuer and the cycle of revenge attacks went on from all sides without exception. But how did that came about?

In September 1991, innocent Nuer traders (more than 50) who came from Tonga bringing their goods they bought from there were arrested in Panaru, brutally tortured and all were slaughtered. This was immediately after when Al/Cdr Simon Manyang Kiir, Al/Cdr Paul Thong Ruai and Al/Cdr William Maliah Tuel were detained in the prison of Kauda in Nuba Mts wher Cde. Manyang Kiir met his final departure) after the announcement of Nasir declaration in August, 1991. Those officers were detained where nobody knew where they were for almost 2 years. If there were revenge killing in WUN targeting members of Ruweng, it could be a revenge for thier innocent traders whom were slaughtered brutally by Dinka of Panaru in that year while coming home from Tonga trying to take their goods to Rubnyagai market.

In August, 2013, Ruweng youth of Panaru armed by the County Authority for ill purpose, attacked Jikany in Kuerbona (Manga), burning down the whole village to ashes, killing many people with some burnt alive inside their houses together with their animals. That terrible incident happened immediately after Governor Taban Deng Gai was replaced by Joseph Nguen Monytuil a month before when Hon. Deng Ayii became the Commissioner of Pariang County.

All revenge attacks which happened in 2013 onwards came as the result of Manga incident and the merciless Juba genocide of 2013 which was coordinated systematically by government generals against Nuer innocent civilians in broad daylights at the watch of the whole world. If Ayual can term those incidents as genocides, then how will he call the killing of others, like juba genocide which claimed lives of more 20,000 innocents civilians including children, women, elderly people in a matter of 3 days only in Juba? How do you call the killing of Murrle in 2012? What about that mass killing of Chollo people of 2015 in which children and their mothers were burnt alive at Waw Chollo? How will you call that killing of Partit and Ballada of Waw in 2012, and that of Western Equatorians during all these crises since 2015?  Just to mention a few.  

If Ruweng are calling for a separate Administration apart from Unity State where they have been living for almost 60 years after their last administrative transfer because of the death of their members by the time when the Country was running at crazy period (dark days in our history), then are they not telling the other South Sudanese tribes who were subjected to the same systematic genocides coordinated by their own government to disintegrate the Country on tribal lines? I think, that will not be the solution.

12. Conclusion

Honestly speaking as human being, all those inhumane treatments and untold suffering in which all South people have been subjected to by their own leaders because of power greedy to accommodate wealth and self desire for tribal domination are not good at all. It should be condemned by all with strongest term possible. There is nothing good out of it putting our own people into hardship and difficult situation for the above mentioned reasons, killing and hating ourselves on tribal basis will never take this Country anywhere. There is no South Sudan without the presence of all 64 tribes. The best way to deal away with this chronic tribal tendency is to accept one and another through a proper reconciliation and forgiveness; hence, open a new page and forget about the pasts knowing that this Country is for all of us without exception of any.

Calling for Separate Administrations is not a solution but another way of preserving other possible fatal violence in the future with unimaginable destructions. Instead, all of us should accept one and another as citizens of one nation with common objectives which is peace and meaningful development as top priorities above all because we have been behind the world for so long.

Therefore, I am urging my fellow Ruweng people that it is never too late at all to come together and discuss issues of concern on a table and come up with good solution. We have seen and heard a lot of terrible histories of other human beings in this world similar to this of ours, like that of Ruanda between Tutsis and Hutus in 1994, that of Kenya in between Kikuyo and Lou in 2012, that of Ethiopia between Oromo and Ahmara in 2015 etc just to mentioned a few. Those people did a lot of bad things against their own people, but in the end realized the danger, and then accepted one and another as citizens of those nations and left the whole issues of the pasts behind and are now heading forward peacefully and positively for the developments of their countries. I hope, we can do the same.

 If you (Ruweng) are for governorship post, prepare yourselves with a potential candidate to contest for governorship position in the upcoming general election that will take place after R-TGoNU. Demanding a separate Administrative Area/State with claiming of borders of land which are not yours is a serious mistake that will disturb your peaceful co-existence with your neighbors and that will have regrettable results.

If you (Ruweng of Panaru) are still serious with your demand for separate Administration as it is now decreed by the President Salva Kiir last month, I suggest that a committee of fact finding be formed by the presidency from the national level with presence of the neutral members  from other tribes in which cases chiefs and elders from both sides (Ruweng Dinka and Leek, Bul and Jikany Nuer) who know their border points well be called and lead the Committee to those common border points where the two community members (Nuer and Ruweng) convince themselves with evidents and facts. Hence, the Committee will report back their findings to the two principles of the R-vitalized peace agreement will solve issue amicably with care once and for all. In this way, the two communities (Ruweng of Panaru and Nuer) remain peaceful neighbors for the rest of their lives in those areas. But what about Alor Ruweng who are from the far west of Mayom County? This is the real issue, you need to think twice.

Finally, my second advice to brothers and sisters from Ruweng is that please respect President Salva Kiir Mayardit with all your actions and thoughts as a President for all South Sudanese people, do not put him into hard situation because of tribal agenda.

Eng.  William Garjang Gieng is a holder of B.Sc. in Geology & Mining. He is former commissioner of Rubkotna County.

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