Opinion

Twic-Mayardit community in diaspora’s humble plea to President for healing and lasting peace

H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Juba

Subject: Position of Twic-Mayardit Community in the Diaspora on the recent conflict between Twic County and the Abyei Special Administrative Area which left dozens of Twic and non-Twic citizens dead.

Your Excellency,

First, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for your recent presidential order for the formation of the Abyei-Twic investigation committee led by Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi and to also wish you every success in your endeavors. Equally, we would also like to convey to you our concerns and highlight the major one regarding the crisis of Aneet that led to the killings of Twic County citizens and other citizens of South Sudan inside Abyei’s areas.

Your Excellence, the Twic Community Worldwide, namely the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe are shocked by the inhumane killingsand continuous violence against the people of the Twic County inside Abyei’s territory believed to have been instigated by Abyei administration and the wanton acts of cruelty perpetrated by Abyei youths, and some people believed to be members of the security forces. The Twic Community in the diaspora has strongly condemned such acts of violence that have claimed the lives of innocents and posed a threat to the peace and security that our people dearly need in Twic County-Warrap State, South Sudan.

Sadly, countless numbers of our people were killed in the occupied areas of Twic county, Agok, which was allotted ( in 2002) as a camp for NgokDinka IDPs during the Sudan-Southern Sudan’s civil war and is now occupied in the form of civil administration by the Abyei administration, its security forces and the UNISFA. The Abyei-Twic crisis will undoubtedly result in further human suffering and will escalate if not managed immediately and with great care.

IMPORTANT: Your Excellence, within less than one week, a number of our people were killed in the Abyei areas, defying all possible belief. There are reports of 178 confirmed killings, with many still unaccounted for as the list grows daily. The matter of Abyei-Twic’s crisis is both horrific and tragic. Wisdom is required to ensure that these acts against our people cease, and that the situation is peacefully resolved. Only then will the peace, security, and integrity of the suffering people be restored.

In the light of peace, the Twic Community in the diaspora urgently appeal to your good leadership, all authorities of the Government of South Sudan concerned, the elders of our communities at large, and all the parties involved in finding a peaceful solution to this crisis.

Your Excellence, a time like this requires forgiveness, wisdom, and courage that surmounts differences and bitterness. Despite the sad act of Twic-Abyei’s incident that has claimed the lives of our innocent people, we urge you tokindly salvage an immediate and binding peaceful solution to a long-standing conflict. This conflict between Twic and NgokDinka of Abyei has culminated into a bitter communal war. Never do we want our people to fall victim to such senseless war-related killings and suffering again.

The sons and daughters of the Twic Mayardit community in the Diaspora grow even more concerned to the continued grave violations of human rights, and targeted killings of our people and other South Sudanese citizens that occurred inside the territory of Abyei and Twic County areas occupied by the Abyei Special Administration since Aneet’s communal fighting on February 9th, 2022, between NgokDinka of Kordofan-Sudan and Twic Mayardit Community of Bahr El Ghazal-South Sudan.

It is in the spirit of peace, and for the sake of our suffering people that we, the undersigned petitioners, do hereby submit our request in the hope that your authority will take immediate action with regard to the following APPEALS:

(1) Protection of our citizens and territory: Having learned how our people were killed inside Abyei, we request the deployment of South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) across the boundary between the Abyei Administrative Area of Kordofan—Sudan and Twic county of Bahr El Ghazal—South Sudan in accordance with  the Republic of South Sudan territorial definition as stipulated in Article one (2) (a) that states “All lands and air space that constituted three former South Sudan provinces of Bahr El Ghazal, Equatoria, and the Upper Nile in their boundaries, as stood on January 1st, 1956”, amended Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011. The Deployment of the SSPDF across the boundaries between the Abyei Special Administrative Area of Kordofan – Sudan and the Twic County of Bahr El Ghazal, Warrap State – South Sudan will not only protect the Twic-Mayardit Community from hostilities but will also protect the entire country from the proxy external conflict and aggression perpetuated by the Abyei Administration, whose status remains politically unsettled

(2) Repatriation of Twic’s citizens in Abyei: Equally, we request the repatriation of Twic Mayardit and other South Sudanese citizens who are still stranded inside Abyei following the outbreak of fighting in Aneet. The attack of our people in their legitimate land, Aneet, was planned by the Abyei authorities and some politicians. Twic County has records of its citizens who were killed inside the Abyei territory, following the communal fight in Aneet. As a result, relatives in the diaspora possess as proof a list of the people killed, including those from other parts of South Sudan yet

3 | P a g e killed. From the Warrap government’s report, we have also learned of persistent killings and maltreatment of our people that reside in Abyei and Twic County’s territories occupied by the Abyei Special administration.

IMPORTANT: In this regard, we appeal to your authority in urging those in charge of the Abyei Special Administrative Area to stop the killing of Twic-Mayardit citizens, as well as of other South Sudanese citizens who did not get a chance to flee and are still in hiding inside Abyei’s territory. Indeed, we appeal to the government of South Sudan to provide escort forces to bring out Twic County citizens stranded inside Abyei areas to Twic County—South Sudan safely.

(3) Demarcation of Twic-Abyei Boundary: We urgently call for demarcation of the boundaries between the Abyei Special Administrative Area of Kordofan—Sudan and Warrap State—South Sudan.

On July 9th, 2011, after South Sudan became an independent country, the amended Transitional Constitution of South Sudan of 2011 clearly states that the Republic of South Sudan’s territory is defined in Article one (2) (a). The amended constitution postulates that “All lands and air space that constituted three former Southern Sudan provinces of Bahr El Ghazal, Equatoria, and Upper Nile in their boundaries as stood on January 1st, 1956.” The 1956 boundary defined three provinces namely Bahr El Ghazal, Equatoria, and Upper Nile Provinces to constitute the territory of the Republic of South Sudan.

The boundaries between Abyei of Kordofan—Sudan and Twic County—Warrap State, in the Bahr El Ghazal region of South Sudan, are therefore no longer provincial boundaries, as before the independence of South Sudan, but have become an international boundary between Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan.

As a result, we appeal to your authority to demarcate this boundary and deploy our national army to protect the border as an international boundary between the Republic of South Sudan and Sudan until Abyei’s status is settled politically.

We stress this request, as it is the responsibility of the national government to safeguard the international border as one of its primary responsibilities and that it should not be left to the community to fight over the international boundaries. Indeed, Article (151) (b) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, as amended, states “the mission of the national armed forces, in addition to its other duties, shall be to “defend the sovereignty of South Sudan.”

(4) Removal of Abyei Special Administration from Twic’s Territory: In addition, we request the Abyei Administrative Areas, inside Twic County’s land, to be moved back to Abyei’s territory, north of River Kiir.

It has now become clear that the Abyei Special Administrative authority has an intention to occupy more lands of the Warrap state and other territories of South Sudan as indicated in the “Abyei Box Map.” The so-called “Abyei Box map” has erroneously and intentionally annexed areas of the Twic County straddle south of the Kiir River from Warawar(Aweil North) through Twic West (Akoc-thon Payam), Pannok Payam, Adiang Payam, Turalei Payam up to the Twic East (Ajak Kuac Payam). We have

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this map which clearly show how politicians of Abyei crafted the “Abyei Box.” The “Abyei Box,” is feloniously crafted, making it dangerous at its best in even encroaching in places where not even a single village or citizen” is found.

IMPORTANT: Should this map be left unrevised and the boundary between Twic County and the Abyei Special Administrative area demarcated, it would cause a proxy war engineered by Abyei politicians between Sudan and South Sudan. Having failed to recognize Kiir River as a physical boundary between Abyei and Twiccounty as stated on January 1st, 1956, boundaries agreement in Sudan, the politicians of Abyei deceitfully claimed international recognition of the “Abyei Box”. Such a claim falsely shifted the boundary deep inside the Twic County land south of the Kiir River, making the UNISFA forcefully deploy its forces in areas that are legally Twic County, Warrap State territories. The boundary between Twic and Abyei is the Kiir River as shown and the shifting of a known physical boundary from the Kiir River deep into the South of the Kiir River is an intentional provocation of the Twic Community by the Abyei administration an politicians that crafted the map.

(5) Justice for our Citizens and Non-Twic Citizens Killed in Abyei and other areas where there is conflict

Moreover, we request justice for our citizens killed in Abyei. The report we have received from different sources on the ground, in particular testimonies of survivors of target killing inside Abyei’s territory revealed a number of our people lost their lives after Aneet’s incident.

IMPORTANT: Hence, we are appealing to your authority to investigate and bring those who have committed those acts  to book or trial. We request that the Abyei be held accountable for the killings of our people that occurred inside Abyei after Aneet’s incident. We are shocked to have learned of the alleged killings of 18 officers inRumkoor. The soldiers were allegedly were from Warrap, disarmed, and later killed. As a result, the aggressors should be held responsible for the killings of the officers, and as such we ask for an investigation as to what happened in Rumkoor’s Brigade.

(6) United Nation Interim Security Forces for Abyei (the UNISFA) to leave Twic County areas to Abyei’s territory, north of Kiir River Immediately: We demand that UNISFA immediately leave Twic County areas and move to Abyei’s territory, north of Kiir River where its mandate is confined.

We have learned that UNISFA forces, together with among others were involved in enforcing land surveys in the Aneet areas that resulted in communal fighting.  Clearly, the UNISFA has failed to recognize the existence of an international boundary between Twic County and the Abyei Special Administrative area,

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and thus, the UNISFA illegally crossed the international boundary to conduct the survey and as well carried out combat in areas where its mandate is not confined.

Such a failure by the UNISFA disregards May 13, 2019, UN Security Council Resolution 2469 (2019) which recognized that the current situation in Abyei and along the border between Sudan and South Sudan continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security. In keeping with this, we ask your authority to press the UNISFA to provide their report on the Aneet incident. That is to say, the UNISFA must report activities inside Abyei territory, during and after the incident that claimed many lives of our people.

Indeed, we have learned of the involvement of the UNISFA forces in fighting alongside others which resulted in the killing of innocent civilians of TwicCounty inside Twic’s territory. The survivors testified to the involvement of the UNISFA in the fight and that the forces were fighting alongside others inTwic County territory. We, therefore, appeal to your authority to investigate and review the UNISFA’s mandate and stop them from exceeding the Abyei territory.

(7) Call for People of Abyei to Promote Peace and Non-violence: More importantly, through your good office, we ask the people of Abyei to promote dialogue, not violence. People of Abyei are engaged in verbal attacks against our elders and politicians in the media. Assaulting or verbally abusing our leaders and elders is unacceptable and should immediately cease.

Such verbal attacks may potentially ignite a response from our youth, which, in turn, would exacerbate the conflict. We also ask the elders of the neighboring community to stop speeches that may encourage their youth to seek violence. In 2021 an inciting speech was made in Nairobi that today encourages some youths to commit violence.  Instead of encouraging violence, we appeal to the elders to join ranks with our elders to bring peace and reconciliation between the sisterly communities.

(8) It is with great consternation that we have also learned that a senior security personnel and his team physically assaulted Twic County official after being held at gunpoint. We strongly condemn such acts of violence which have both humiliated and disrespected the official and the community in general. We request that such an incident be investigated thoroughly and that those involved be disciplined accordingly.

(9) We are greatly concerned with the investigative team, headed by the Vice President, HussienAbdulbagiAyie. We have learned with great dismay that the investigative committee has made the following resolutions:

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● That the security of Aneet is to be handed over.

● That community who ran away from Aneet due to the communal fight be asked to return.

● That the administration of Aneet remains under Abyei Administration

● That the bloodletting of bulls, a traditional ritual in which the blood of a bull is spilled between rivalry communities, be sacrificed in Aneet

● That the Twic chiefs and the Commissioner be asked to sign resolution and reconciliation documents.

We are baffled by such a one-sided rush to judgment, and by this method of reconciliation. Such an approach to this conflict, which has claimed the lives of many innocent people, cannot bring about the lasting peace we need to achieve. Hence, we request that there be a fair and just settlement to the Twic-Abyei conflict that will benefit the two communities in achieving a binding solution.

(10) Assisting Internally Displaced People (IDPs): Finally, but equally important, we urge the government of South Sudan and the United Nations to assist internally displaced people (the IDPS) with food, shelter, and medications. Since the communal fighting broke out in Aneet, the IDPs who fled to Twic County, are still unassisted by the Government and the UN agencies with food, shelter, and medications. We ask the government to press the UN agencies to address the needs of the IDPs in Twic County.

(11) Conclusion: We request the administration of Aneet and towns south of Kiir River be administered by Twic County, Warrap State. Legally, Aneet is TwicCounty’s land, situated in the middle of Anganya, specifically in the area called Athony in KuacAnganya. Kuac is composed of six sections: Anganya, Ator, Ayuang, Guotjuor, Aheer, and Duor. These six sections are divided into two sections: Anganya, Atorand Ayuangare called Athonyand Duor, Aheer, and Guotjuorare called Akurbiok. To reiterate, “Aneet” is in the middle but. DIIL is not even a part of Kuac, otherwise, Kuac would have had seven sections, which is impossible. We have 36 villages of Anganyaand Ayuangbefore reaching Aneet and Diilis not a part of this. Where would Diilof Abyei insert itself here? From Aneet to Amidgorou Southward we have Kolluoth, Malualdau, Acuong, Majokahot, Ahot, and Abii before one steps foot in the water of Amidgorou. Where is Diil here? And from the East of Aneet to Ajak Kuac, we have Mabuny, Majakkol, Manhawan, Kethdhac, Nyaguong, Dombolnhiim, Panameth, to downtown Ajak Kuac; Diil isn’t here too.

We request that the administration of Aneet to be handed over to Twic County where Aneet belongs and not shared between the two communities an earlier article suggested in “Simply speaking, Aneet belongs to Twic County, and as such MUST be administered by the Twic County” We ardently appeal for the Aneet issue and the demarcation of the Twic and Abyei boundary not to be once again ignored or be deferred further to an indefinite time, as alluded in the article entitled, “A Personal Perspective”

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 We want the TWIC-ABYEI boundary issue addressed immediately to avoid fostering conflict between the two communities.

Your Excellence, we hope that under your leadership the people of Twic County will achieve peace. After the establishment of the Abyei Administration, our people, in their territory as well as inside Abyei’s territory, have suffered a great deal. With dismay, we learn, year after year, that our people disappear from their farms or to the farms, inside Abyei territories, where they sought employment. Our people, as repeatedly reported by the Twic County Administrations and Warrap State authorities, are frequently unreasonably maltreated or jailed for no apparent reasons. Hence, we are calling upon you to bring about a peaceable solution to this crisis through nonviolent negotiations. We salute your great leadership.

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