Response # 1

Re: Sudanese raiders kill over seventy and displace thousands in Gambella Region, as Government sits mum.

By J. Ojoch
July 19, 2006

Dear Friend,

You have written a good article. You told the truth. You also sent a clear message to the Ethiopian government. You may be the first Nuer who did it all. If the Nuer give up their being political puppets for both Ethiopians and Sudanese governments and form alliances with their fellow tribes the ruling governments in both countries would not enslave us until today.    

It is a game that some Anyuak have attempted to make clear but not too many people digested it. The Anyuak in the Gambella region understand that the government in Addis Ababa and the highlanders or Gala in Gambella town do not want the indigenous people in the region to live in harmony. Both the Sudan and the Ethiopian Governments are using the tribes to suite their political purposes. The two governments cunningly favor one tribe by giving guns to that particular tribe, money or even leadership to beat other tribes.  Bashir can do anything to destroy the CPA. That is why Bashir is still feeding and arming militias in the Southern Sudan. These militias do not want to join the SAF or the SPLA because they are used to looting. Bashir assures them good life in the future. Similarly, PM Meles can do anything to keep the borders in chaos so that the peoples of the borders keep drawn to fight each other to divert their attention from Highlanders and real government politics. Thus, it is up to us to understand the trickery these two governments are doing with us to fulfill their political interests.    

Here is the equation. It may be theoretical or hypothetical to some people. If you see it carefully it is real. President Bashir of Sudan and PM. Meles of Ethiopia must have agreed on a plan for common interest. PM. Meles requested President Bashir to allow the Murle to attack Pochalla so that the Anyuak refugees become insecure to stay but to be pushed back into Ethiopia. No wonder why during that period of Murle attack of Pochalla, the Ethiopian army was already set close to Pochalla, even ready to penetrate into foreign territory. President Bashir’s advantage is that the CPA is disturbed. Pochalla’s County government was expected to get angry and frustrated and rebel against the SPLA in case of no quick support. Fortunately for the Anyuak, the plan failed. The Murle were repelled.

On the other end, the Murle would not reach Jikaw under normal circumstances while fighting the Anyuak. They would not have a safe passage if they were not guided by well organized governments’ thugs to destabilize security in the region. The Ethiopian army was there to open the way. The Lou Nuer who had grudge with the Jikany found it easy also to attack their fellow tribesmen at Jikaw with the instruction from President Bashir. PM. Meles also has big advantage here. At the moment, Itang, Gambella town are engulfed by the Jikany and Lou Nuer Nuer who were displaced by conflicts in Jikaw and Southern Sudan disarmament. It was that the Nuer at Jikaw would be flushed onto the Anyuak at Itang and Gambella. This would cause friction between the Anyuak and the Nuer, increasing the already worsened security problem in the Gambella region. The Anyuak attention would be diverted from the highlanders and government real politics and get drawn to the Nuer. Unfortunately the game failed and is yet failing. It is and was a good thing.

It is a big game. Meles is worried that the Nuer and the Anyuak have stopped fighting since December 13, 2003 when the Ethiopian army massacred the Anyuak. The Ethiopian government does not want the peace between the two tribes. It will always find ways to ignite a fire or ethnic hatred among the indigenous people, the Anyuaks, the Magenger, the Nuer, and the Opuo.

Recall that the Anyuak had long wanted to have their own local government when peace was not possible between them and the Nuer in Gambella region. The Government there did not want it to happen but the Majangir were allowed to go. What prevented the separation between the Anyuak and the Nuer? Now you know the answer. The highlanders always told the Nuer not to go because it is democracy and land belongs to God. The Nuer were happy and told the Highlanders that if the Anyuak got the opportunity the Highlanders will not stay in Gambella anymore. There was a mutual interest here. The Nuer wanted to share or take the Anyuak land, a thing they had wanted over the ages. The Highlanders did not want the Anyuak to go loose because they [highlanders] would lose jobs and power in government. So, the Nuer and the Anyuak remained locked up against each other with the highlanders enjoying the drama.

Thank God, slowly and slowly, the “Lare local government” stood up. The Nuer are happy. The Anyuak got relieved of some Nuer pressure. The massacre of the Anyuak in December 13, 2003, drew the Nuer and the Anyuak rather closer. The Nuer saw it to be a common problem. If it happened to the Anyuak it will also happen to the Nuer. It is a matter of time. It became race against race; the black race on one side and the colored highlanders on the other. The Nuer themselves know that they are a seasonal tribe in Ethiopia, and they can be easily evicted from the country if the Anyuak were not present.

Without that realization, the Nuer would have taken the advantage of the Anyuak vulnerability at this time when the Anyuak are being targeted. That is why PM Meles wanted help from President Bashir as described above. PM Meles wanted chaos by “remote control”. Your message to him is going to be felt with regret. If the partnership is going to crumble Mr. Meles has no choice but to explore new tactics. Both Nuer and Anyuak must be careful.

The theory here is not difficult to prove. The Murle attacked the Anyuak of Tedo. The army in that area was asked for help by elders and certain government representatives in Gambella. The answer at Tedo: “We are not here to protect the Anyuak against the Murle. We are protecting the highlander workers against the Anyuak”. This is a similar attitude that the Nuer at Jikaw saw. With the army at Pool-Deang, it was not by miracle that the “Murle” were able to drive away so many heads of cattle across the landscape. It was not also a miracle that the Lou Nuer came all the way from Akobo to attack and take cattle from Jikau.

There is a lesson to be learnt from the Meles-Bashir calculation. Both the Nuer and the Anyuak must be ready with new tactics too. The Nuer must realize that the Highlanders need them for advantage, and that is to use the Nuer as shields against the Anyuak. The highlanders are using the Nuer to beat the Anyuak. Once the Anyuak, the owner of the land, are wiped out, it will be easy for the highlanders to remove the Nuer from Gambella. The easy way to neutralize all that is for the Nuer to stop unnecessary migration into the Anyuak territories. Conflicts will stop permanently giving chance to peace. There is no lack of land and water for the Nuer to use. Just strengthen the “government” at Lare and develop the area. The Anyuak do not go out to hunt to kill the Nuer. The Nuer go to them, just the way the highlanders want it to brew trouble. We see that Meles is already uneasy with the brief peace between Nuer and Anyuak in Gambella region.

Readers familiar with the Ethiopian politics may understand but may not necessarily agree immediately. But the Anyuak are already vigilant that any fight coming from the Nuer does not just occur as a matter of quest for land and water alone but the hands of PM Meles and President Bashir are also there. On the Sudan side Bashir is near being irrelevant with the SPLA taking control of the whole Southern Sudan by neutralizing all militias. The problem will remain in Ethiopia where the Nuer is likely to be used if they do not think the other way or rationally. 


















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