Anyuak Past Sufferings in the Hands of Governments and the Lou Nuer.

By Lero O.Odola*
September 14, 2006

Akobo has been in the mass media for the last nine months since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement {CPA} which ended the hostilities between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement led by the late great leader Dr. J Garang De Mabior and the Khartoum regime led by Behsir in Kenya on January 9th 2005. The Southern Sudan government emerged as a result of the long twenty-two years of political, social, economical, religious, and cultural hostilities between South and North Sudan.  The cited peace deal accord, without tremendous facilitation from the UN, USA, UK, EU, IGAD, and the international community at large, could have been impossible if not difficult to reach.  More importantly, to make Sudanese peace deal a reality, the Security Council conducted one of its imperative meetings in fourty years out of its head quarters.  The visibility of the UN General Secretary Dr. Kofi Annan, the presence of the former US secretary of State colonel Powel and other world dignitaries at the singing of the peace agreement gathered huge impact to bring the two parties ever closer together.

What was the impact of Southern Sudan civil war on Akobo Anyauk in the past and currently? In September 1964, Anyuak were targeted by the Arabs regime implemented by Akobo’s administrator, the perpetrator Abubakar Beshir EL-Wagie.  Khartoum claim was that Anyuak have been supportive to the Southern Sudan Liberation Movement [Anya-Nya One]. About 700-1000 Anyuak men were tied together and shot dead in broad daylight.  The innocent helpless Anyuak were deceived that the administrator was on official routine visit to Arini village near Akobo town where the massacre took place.  In addition, many Anyuak were killed in 1970 in Agwiey, known as Ogilo (Obo village).  The reason behind these cold-blood slaughters of the innocent was that Anyuak failed to report or reveal Anya-Nya One activities to the government station in Bur Maath.  The said atrocities were the most unknown undisputable initial criminal acts the Anyuak underwent in the course of the liberation wars inflicted against humanity at large by the Arabs ( Jallaba).  There was a break of suffering from 1972-1983 because of the Addis Ababa Agreement.

What happened during the SPLA/M movement? The current Akobo’s conflicts occurred on March 13, 1983, when about (250) people where murdered by the Lou Nuer Mor in side Akobo town in the daylight planned by the late Peter Gatkouth Gual and the late Samuel Gai Tut, executed by tarnished chiefs murderers, James Sijin Banak, Tap Kodi Wal, and their associates. Before Akobo town massacre was carried out, massive coordinated attacks backed by Anya-Nya Two Nuer elements, took place on the Anyuak civilians in the surroundings villages in 1980-1982.  The vast majority of people of the Sudan knew nothing about all these killings since law and order was already breaking down as the Sudan dishonored the Addis Ababa Agreement. There was no media to report anything. The Anyuak people simply vanished. What was the motive behind this entire massacre? The Lou needed land and water. It was a good time to do that since the opportunity presented itself. 

However, the vast majority of Southern Sudanese in particular and the world in general are becoming more aware now of the motivation of the slaughter of the indigenous Anyuak people by Lou Nuer [Mor] settlersin Akobo.  The mass media has made the world so small that things reach every corner in a short period. The Anyuak are still under threat till this moment. Their homesteads are occupied and they have nowhere to settle to rebuild their lives.

The Southern Sudan civil war broke out on May 16, 1983 immediately after Akobo’s tragic event and veiled the Akobo matter.  More vitally to mention, is that the vast majority of the people of Southern Sudan became busy competing for so many issues including the High Executive Council of the Southern Sudan.  The main focus was centered for the competition about the redivision and the intrigues that followed the defection of former Sudan military Major Karubino KwanyinBol and his comrades to struggle for liberation of Sudanese people from oppressor’s rules. The whole South Sudan paid diminutive concern on the well-calculated tragic bereavement of the Anyuak people. The Sudan as a whole plunged into a wavy turmoil.  These circumstances allowed the perpetrators to remain at large and walked away with their hands full of blood of blameless Anyuak people. As the war intensified and security situation deteriorated in the whole South, Akobo issue disappeared in that confusion.

Here is the magnitude of the events. Even though those groups continue their intentional denial of their organized ruthless butchering in cold blood of the elderly, vulnerable, disable, children, and women, the trends can be traced easily. The Anyuak were massacred in 1982-1983 by Nuer regular police dressed in civilian cloths. It was the shooting of the Anyuak and burning down to the ground the victim’s houses inside Akobo town and surroundings areas that ring in the heads of survivors.  Subsequently the survivor’s and some critically wounded victims were taken from Akobo to Juba town through Pibor and Bor route for treatment, after almost two weeks of calculated delay before the rescue team could arrive at Akobo to evacuate the survivors.  Hundreds of the Anyuak victims were buried in mass graves in Akobo town.  Some were left alone to be eaten by hyenas, and other wild animals, because the survivors were terribly overwhelmed by the magnitude of the atrocities.  Many Anyuak victims died in Pibor, Bor and Juba hospitals as result of smoke inhalation, second and first degree burns, and gun shot wounds.   Further, it is extremely unfortunate to mention that those who barely escaped the brutality in Akobo slayers, died later as result of the starvation in Bor town.  Other helpless women and children died in the forest between Bor and Mangalla on their way to Juba during the government evacuation of Bor town in 1987. 

As mentioned earlier the policemen who dressed as civilians to cover up the crime participated in the killing led by the second lieutenant police officer the late Samuel Thot Luak Kok. The news about the massacre of the Anyuak in Akobo was deliberately kept in dark by the Lou Nuer influential elites in High Executive Council of Southern Sudan by then on top of them was the late Peter Gatkouth Gual.  Many attempts were made at the time by the Anyuak intellectuals to reveal the scale of the ethnic cleaning into light.  However, this group was turned down in one way or another as the civil unrest continued in the South. A great number of non- Anyuak eyewitnesses including the commissioner of Jonglie province at that time are there to testify even in the court of law.

I strongly encourage and recommend the South Sudan government with help of the UN, AU, EU, US, International community, and peace loving nations and other concerned humanitarian originations to establish special probe team to tackle this unsolved problematic matter.  If nothing is done it will happen again and then the Anyuak will vanish from the face of this planet the earth in the hands of merciless slaughters.  

Akobo peace conference was convened to end the hostilities between Jekany- Nuer and Lou-Nuer, chaired by Dr. Riek Machar in 1994. In that meeting Akobo conflicts between Lou Nuer and the Anyuak people was raised by the late Paul Anade. However, the Akobo matter was discarded by Dr. Riek Machar and his group and the late Anade was threatened and told openly to quit the topic or he will pay serious consequences.  Thus, the slaughters on the Anyuak people continued before and after the split in 1991.  Doyak Chol and his affiliates while in Akobo in 1996-98 continued to use his heavy artillery against Anyuak civilians.  These heavy artilleries were supposed to be used against the main enemy in conventional war.  However, and regrettably, instead he started shelling the helpless Anyuak indigenous people on a daily basis in Akobo El-gadim, Wangduar, Dima, and Teralali villages to prevent the Anyuak from coming back to Akobo town.  The survivors, victim’s family, relative, and friends are there to testify to my assertion. The terrorization notion or philosophy continued until the singing of Sudan Peace Agreement in 2005. These are concrete facts that the Southern Sudan people and authorities must know to understand why the Anyuak are raising questions today about security. 

I’m aware that some readers may raise questions about whether the author is familiar with other atrocities endured by other communities during the Sudan civil war? The answer is certainly yes. For example, the atrocities against Dinka committed by Sudanese arm forces known as Thaeen massacre in 1986. The massive killing of the Shilluk tribe carried out by Sudanese popular defense forces known as Jabllen massacre in 1990’s. I sincerely sympathize with those who lost their blameless love ones in these human right abuses and tragic events in Sudan.  But Akobo and Anyuak matter is a unique phenomena and it’s a non-stop marathon plan. It was a war within a war. The Anyuak were being chased by the Lou Nuer while running away from the Arabs as all Southern Sudanese did. That is how it is different from all sufferings that Southerners endured.  

I leave the floor for the audience to judge for themselves.  The author here is trying to enlighten the world about magnitude of the systemic mob crime carried out against the Anyuak in Southern Sudan openly and to set the record straight.  The systematic killing of the Anyuak in Akobo must be considered genocide.  It is exactly similar to what happened in concentration camp in 1945 and in Rwanda in 1994 considering the Anyuak population.  But because there was reporting system this massacre went down.

Even at this time some Nuer elite have vowed to continue to fight.  For example, explicit statements and self declaration of guilt have been made by David Mai Tang, Koang Jing , Peter Lam, James Mayom and others through their well uttered writings that the extinction of  the Anyuak  of Akobo  is inevitable and it must continue no matter what. “Hence, Anyuak must zip up their lips and not even to mention any thing about the Akobo massacre or commemorate the lost of the love ones.” According to these individuals or groups, the government of Southern Sudan has no right or legitimacy and power to solve and tackle unsettled conflicts.  Astonishingly, the core question should be why then did the GoSS form Peace and Reconciliation Commission and the Human Right Commission if the government is going to be intimidated by individuals who deserve to be indicted?  Reread the ceasefire protocols and South Sudan Constitution, and educate yourself about Comprehensive Peace Agreement (known as CPA) if you haven’t read it yet

The political, social, geographical, historical development of the former Upper Nile Province and the Akobo Anyuak district issues was badly managed by various players to the Nuer advantage as already indicated above and below. The root cause of this crisis could be partly blamed on Great Britain who randomly created chaotic administrations between unrelated tribes and ethnicities in Southern Sudan.   On the other hand it can be blamed on the both governments of Sudan and former High Executive Council for the (Southern Sudan) who further abused the system.

Great Britain wanted more taxes from the Nuer cattle regardless of the consequences by bringing Lou Nuer closer to Akobo borders to benefit by seasonal watering. The Lou Nuer were beyond Dwa-Achan beginning from 1912, but this border broke down in the sixties when the Anya-Nya became active. That time the Anyuak were targeted for collaboration and paid dearly with their lives. Anyuak vulnerability started to the Lou advantage. After the departure of the Great Britain from Sudan on January first 1956 Arabs minority rulers in Khartoum took over from the British the divide and rule, which remained active till the liberation wars of Southern Sudan.  The minority Arabs rulers in Khartoum implemented the same doctrine on the indigenous African people of Southern Sudan. As greed and competition for power and money become the area of concern for some tribes it was very easy for the Arabs to rule that way. 

That greedy competition for power and money become vital for some people in Southern Sudan. They copied exactly the British and Arabs by exercising the same policy.  For example, in 1974 and during Jafar Nimiri regime in Khartoum, the late Peter Gatkouth Gual, was the Commissioner for the former Upper Nile province (Malakal).  While in office, he [the late Peter Gatkouth] was able to influence the decision and policy makers in both regional and national governments by then to change the map of the former great Upper Nile Province specifically for Akobo issue, to include the Lou Nuer in it. This system was before the creation of Jonglie and Unity Provinces to make about three provinces in greater Upper Nile region. The former Upper Nile province main districts at that time excluding sub-districts were Akobo, Bentiu, Bor, Fangak, Kodok, Nassir, Renk, and Pibor post.  The idea then was to combine Walgak, Kaykwieny and Akobo as one district after the creation of Jonglie provinces in 1975. The plan was engineered, particularly, for Lou Nuer [Mor clan] to gain more seats in local, regional, and national assembly during the so-called one party rule of Sudanese Social Union led by Jafar Mohammed Nemeri.  Further more, the main objective of engineering this method was also to avoid inter-clans conflict and political crash between {Ghon and Mor} clans.  The late Peter Gatkouth Gual who originally came from Kaykwieny ( Mor) area and  the late Samuel Gai Tut  who originally came from Ghon Waat area agreed to help their clans. These men had to find a middle ground to bring peace among their clans at the expense of others [the Anyuak]. These men and other Lou Nuer elites were the most important architects of that procedure. This mechanism was implemented officially when the late Peter Gatkouth Gual became the vice president of the High Executive Council for the Southern Sudan. Obviously we observe certain similarities today in the form of appointments in the New Sudan that excluded the Anyuak. The entire Akobo County representatives in the government of national unity, government of Southern Sudan, and the Jonglei state are from Lou (Nuer mor) clan. This did not simply happen. The Lou invisible hand was behind it all. Anything that was meant for Akobo was manipulated by the Lou people in the South Sudan system.

The author presents a map below for readers not familiar with the Akobo territory to understand. The distance between Lou Nuer areas and Akobo is clear and undisputable fact that there is no any connection or relationship between these two areas to be politically and administratively ruled together.   The distance between Akobo and Waat is about 76 miles away, while the distance between Waat and Kaykwiny is about 19 or 20 miles way from main town or the head quarters of Lou (Waat). What surprises the readers is the stunning disregard of Waat and Walgak distance which is about 7 miles. Was it not easier to put the Nuer areas together then going to hunt for far away lands? What is the logic of going 76 or more miles to put Walgak together with Akobo? This was how the Lou Nuer used the regimes systems to cheat the Anyuak. They are happy the peace has come while they have achieved their long-term objective and goal: get the water and the land from the Anyuak. They did that politically and with war through the government systems available to them. Akobo twenty three years old social and political agony imposed by Lou Nuer should not be considered as just tribal conflicts which will go away alone. The New Sudan has a great stake to peacefully solve this problem. This is the position which the Anyuak have presented to GoSS top authorities.

Lero O. Odola is a South Sudanese liveing in the US, and can be reached at

















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