Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:44 am Post subject:
To: Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhorgon
Vice president of Government of Southern Sudan
Subject:- Fact Finding Committee Report on the 8th. March.2009 Lou Nuer Attack on Likwangole Payam in Pibor County .
The Committee arrived on a chartered plane from Juba to Pibor at around 3:00 Pm on 15th. March. 2009
Day 1 Sunday 15th.March.2009 Pibor County
Upon arrival the Committee proceeded to the commissioner's residence and held a meeting with the County Security Committee under the chairmanship of the County Commissioner. During the meeting the Committee listened to the security committee report on the Lou Nuer attack which started from Nanam on 6th.March 2009 and pushed its way to Likwangole Payam, occupying it on 8th.March 2009, burning the SPLM Flags and destroying hospital, Schools, shopping centre, Payam administration offices and looting Copi and MSF compounds.
The Lou Nuer invaders captured Likwangole Payam killing one official and town chief while SPLA Battalion deployed to protect and defend Likwangole Payam remained in their barrack without any attempt of defending the Payam. When the Payam executive director requested a force to defend the Payam, the commanding officer of Battalion 358 of brigade 47 in Division 8 Col. Juma Kadai Korok told the executive officer that they were ordered not to get involved in the tribal fighting and that they should not defend Likwangole. The orders were given to them by SPLA Division 8 commander, Maj. Gen. Bol Kong.
On 9th March 2009, a group of 45 attackers reported to the garrison; when it was reported to division 8 commander, Maj. Gen. Bol Kong, he issued orders to the battalion commander to provide a protection to this group of Lou Nuer attackers and that they should not be beaten even.
Day 2 Monday, 16th March 2009, Likwangole Payam
The committee arrived at Likwangole at 10:30 am and proceeded to the first resistance line of Likwangole Payam at water pump which is to the south-west of Likwangole airstrip. At the scene, the Committee found on the ground some rotten bodies of 27 from Lou Nuer attackers and 5 bodies from the Murle including one small girl and a baby boy who were beaten to death by sticks. The committee then proceeded to Likwangole Payam military barrack and held a quick meeting with the officers. The commander of Battalion 358 Col. Juma Kadai Korok has been asked as to why he did not defended Likwangole Payam and its People? Col. Juma Kadai Korok replied saying that his division commander Maj. Gen. Bol Kong issued orders "that the force should not get involved in the tribal fighting and must not get out from the barrack. But when the Lou Nuer attackers surrendered to the army in the barracks the division commander ordered me to give protection to the surrendering Lou Nuer attackers group of 45 people, which I did." Among the 45 people there is a woman. Of the 45 people from Lou Nuer attackers, one passed away and 4 were evacuated to Juba for medical treatment remaining 40 people in the barrack.
After having a meeting with the officers at the barracks the committee visited the surrendering Lou Nuer attackers and from there the committee returned to Likwangole Payam headquarters accompanied by Jonglei state security committee headed by the peace advisor for Jonglei state Mr. John Jok and a team of UNMIS led by the UNMIS head officer in the state. At Payam headquarters, the committee held a joint meeting which included representatives of UNMIS, Jonglei security committee, UNICEF representatives on one side and the executive director with head chief of Likwangole Payam on the other.
During the meeting the committee listened to Payam executive director who reported that the Lou Nuer attack started on 12/February/ 2009 on Mamchilil grassing area which continued for two consecutive days, Women, children and elderly were killed and some children and women were taken by the attackers. The number of cows stolen on 12th/Febuarary/ 2009 attack were 208,108 head of cattle. These cattle's are stolen from two Bomas of Kongor and Monchak. Kongor lost 11,719 while Monchak lost 196,461.
This attack was seen as a retaliation action by Lou Nuer to the attack carried earlier by Murle to their area ignoring the appeal by Pibor county commissioner of recovering their cows, and while the Murle also took their earlier attack as revenge to 31st.7.2007 attack on Nyergeny Boma in Likwangole Payam. Second attacks started on the 5th.March.2009 when a Lou Nuer mobilized armed civilians were reportedly moving from three Lou Nuer Counties of Akobo, Wuror and Nyirol. The Lou Nuer attackers took Murle by surprise on the same day 5th.March.2009 on a swift attack on Ngoyith, Bichibich, Lopilab, Mawuo and Rang grassing areas.
On 8th.March.2009 the Lou Nuer attack extended to Lekereth village pushing their way to Likwangole Payam. In Lekereth the Lou Nuer attackers forced women and children who they capture in Nanam into luaks and burn them alive. On 9th.March.2009 the Lou Nuer attacked and captured Likwangole Payam burning SPLM flag in the Payam and destroying all government installations in the Payam and looting hospital, schools and the compounds of humanitarian organization operating in the Payam namely; Copi and MSF. The attackers continued their occupation of Likwangole Payam to the following day. On 10th.March.2009 the Lou Nuer proceeded to Nyarath chi Eezo in Kong-Kong River and attacked Murle there killing women, children, elderly and some youth and looting cattles which they assembled in Likwangole Payam before they drive them to their land.
During the meeting Head Chief Mr. Abarchoch Lual of Likwangole Payam also spoke and said, Likwangole Payam was attacked and captured by Lou Nuer burning the SPLM Flag while SPLA forces in the area stood aside without defending the Payam.
SPLA forces also participated in the looting of the Payam and they even protected the attackers while they were refusing to protect us. The attackers were in SPLA uniform and were coordinating their attack with the Battalion who have directed them to the water pump in the airport and assured them of cooperation on their side. The evidence is seen in the fact that the attackers took all cows in side Likwangole Payam except those belonging to the Lou Nuer settlers and the army.
In the light of the above facts, the head chief concluded that SPLA forces in the Payam are not deployed to protect the Payam and its People as a national force, but they are there as tribal forces who identify themselves with their tribes in any tribal conflict like this one. Therefore, the head chief request SPLA command to withdraw these forces with their command immediately before they could take the law into their hands and retaliate on these forces. At 3:45pm Jonglei state security committee and the UNMIS team returned to Bor town on a UN helicopter and the fact finding committee returned to Pibor on two hard top land cruisers.
Day 3 Tuesday, 17th.March.2009, Pibor County
The fact finding committee held a joint meeting with the commissioner, county security committee and the chiefs of Pibor county comprise of 41 chiefs, 10 from Pibor Payam, 10 from Gurumuk Payam, 10 from Likwangole Payam, 10 from Vertet Payam and 1 chief representing 10 chiefs OF Boma Payam. The 41 chiefs in the meeting expressed the below points as follows;
1. That the Jonglei state government ordered peaceful disarmament in Pibor and in the areas of neighboring communities, but disarmament was executed in Pibor only and now when attacked by the Lou Nuer the state government failed to protect us.
2. Our people were killed in hospital in Bor town, and the state government failed to investigate the case, but instead, it protected the murderers.
3. The state government deployed Lou Nuer organized SPLA forces who have now identified themselves with their tribe in our area, this force is not representing the face of Southern Sudan as a result they turned their guns against Murle. Given this fact these forces must be transferred and be replaced with nationally represented SPLA forces. The chiefs expressed that Jonglei state cannot represent them and they must be removed from Jonglei state and be put under GoSS supervision. In the end of the meeting the intellectuals, the chiefs and the commissioner called for peaceful coexistence with the neighbors.
Day 4 Wednesday 18th.March.2009, Pibor County
The facts finding committee accompanied by the county security committee led by the commissioner held a consultative meeting with the officers of Battalion 359 at the army barrack. Col. Peter Ruei the Commander of Battalion 359 of brigade 47, division 8 explained that the Lou Nuer attacks information came to them from Juba , therefore, the devastation which rocked Likwangole Payam came with the knowledge of the divisional commander. Col. Peter Ruei reported that his command issued standing orders that when the Lou Nuer attack begins the army must not intervene. He said that the Lou Nuer from three counties mobilized themselves to attack Likwangole Payam, Gurumuk Payam and Pibor county head quarters as briefed by our command.
Col. Peter Ruei said his Battalion are all from Lou Nuer except a few who come from Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile states, according to him this force does not reflect the true face SPLA and hence , he recommends transfer of all officers from sons of Jonglei state from this force. He mainly recommends transfer of officers from Lou Nuer who forms the majority of the officers in this Battalion. Maj. Simon Dak Kier stated that when they were organized in Bor to come to Pibor, the message given was that we are going to fight with Murle before even reaching Pibor, but when we moved from Bor to Pibor we never met any hostile behavior until we reached Pibor peacefully and found that the people here are peaceful and friendly, contrary to the information of violence and hatred as we were told by our command. Most of these forces are from Akobo County . According to Maj. Simon Dak Kier this formation encourages tribalism therefore; battalion 359 and its command must be transferred and be thoroughly mixed with SPLA forces from sons of other areas before they are deployed in any area. Cpl. Nasser Akol recommends the following;
1. All officers from Jonglei state in this battalion should be transferred
2. All traders from Jonglei state coming in and out of Pibor County should be handled by the civilian police.
3. Bor /Pibor road must be patrolled and cars must be provided with security escort from Bor to Ayidi and vice versa.
Day 5 Thursday 19th.March.2009, Pibor County
The facts finding committee finished its facts finding mission and requested a plane to return to Juba, however, the plane could not come due to lack of funds to be paid to the flight company, as a result, the facts finding committee had to spend one day in Pibor as a wasted time. Before leaving Pibor County on above date Lou Nuer new group was reportedly moving towards Murle land again, and the committee returned back to Juba on 20th. 3 .2009 arriving Juba at 10:45 am.
Day 6 Friday 20th. March.2009 Juba, Southern Sudan
Summary of facts as reported on the ground:
1. The field visit by the facts finding committee to the affected areas has been successful and achieved its objectives, reaching all destinations and met all chiefs of affected areas and the leadership of Pibor County .
2. It has been found that Lou Nuer attackers killed elderly, women and children in a manner of organized genocide or ethnic cleansing.
3. SPLA forces deployed in Likwangole Payam did not defend the Payam in the face of the Lou Nuer attack, instead, they defended the attackers and provided a protection to 45 Lou Nuer attackers, saying that they were ordered by the division commander not to get involved in the tribal fighting, but at the same time the division commander issued orders to protect the surrendering Lou Nuer attackers, who according to divisional commander should not be touched and not even beaten.
4. SPLA forces in Likwangole Payam participated in destruction of Likwangole Payam by looting the Payam after the withdrawal of the Lou Nuer attackers.
5.SPLA forces in Likwangole Payam buried three bodies of the attackers who are believed to be SPLA officers killed during their attack on Likwangole Payam to cover evidence, bearing in mind that a Colonel and a captain were killed from the Lou Nuer attackers.
6. Number of 45 Lou Nuer attackers surrendered to Likwangole military garrison including one woman, one of them passed away and 4 of them evacuated to Juba for medical treatment
7. Jonglei state government sent food assistance and medical facilities to attacking Akobo County through Pibor County instead of rescuing the affected population in an attempt of provoking new round of violence.
8. Some of the bodies of the attackers found on the ground were in SPLA uniform confirming participation of SPLA forces from Lou Nuer in this barbaric attack on Likwangole Payam
9. It is confirmed that three counties of Lou Nuer namely Nyirol, Wuror and Akobo have participated in the attack on Likwangole Payam as evidenced by the surrenders being citizens of these counties.
10. The number of Murle Killed in the latest Lou Nuer attack from Nanam down to Likwangole, Kong-Kong and Jom are 453 and more than 100 people missing according to primary reports.
11. Number of the internally displaced persons are 6000 persons.
12. Among officers killed on their attack are; Col. Killed and his insignia brought to Pibor County Commissioner Lt.Col. Riel a Police officer killed -Joseph Lual Chol, student in Kitale Killed -Lt. Deang Goi Yuod SPLA officer
13. Wounded officers from Lou Nuer attackers - 1st.Lt. Tier Duk Koryom Police officer wounded -1st.Lt. Char Pot Bol SPLA officer wounded - Lt. Gatluak Duop SPLA officer wounded
Number of the fact finding Committee were 36 members
Headed by Hon. Philip Thabalang Lukayee
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C C. President of Government of Southern Sudan