National, News

Ngok-Twic saga: who is responsible?

By William Madouk


A subtle tug of war continues unraveling as the authorities in Warrap State and Abyei Special Administrative Area (ASAA) disagree over who was responsible for the recent spate of attacks.

Warrap State authorities, in a recent missive, disputed Abyei Administrative Area claim that youth from Twic and their colleagues loyal to a spiritual leader, Gai Machiek, were responsible for the last weekend attacks.

In a statement on January 30, 2024, Warrap State Minister of Information, William Wol, stated that the Warrap government is steadfast in ensuring stability between the Ngok-Twic communities.

Mr. Wol alleged that some Nuer armed youth allied to Ngok were responsible after Abyei authorities presented a presidential order and ordered them to leave, leading to violent eruptions across the Area.

“When the order was read out by the Abyei Administrative Area Authority, demanding that they leave for Unity State, tension soon flared into violence,” he claimed.

He said the state government made a thorough investigation from several sources until they found out that it was not Machiek’s forces that fought the Ngok of Abyei.

He further noted that Machiek did not interfere in the recent clash between the Ngok-Dinka and the Bul-Nuer armed youth in Abyei town, adding that the spiritual leader is somewhat preparing to leave Warrap State in obedience to the president’s order.

“Finally, the government, under the leadership of H.E. Col. Kuol Muor-Muor, looks forward to an engagement between the Dinka Twic and Dinka Ngok communities for a peaceful settlement,” he cited.

In response, the minister of information for Abyei Administrative Area, Bulis Koch, trashed the statement delinking Twic armed youth and Machiek from the recent attacks as ‘baseless’ and referred to it as a ‘cover-up’ to hide the truth.

Abyei authorities insisted that since the onset of the conflict, Twic armed youth and Machiek were responsible for attacks, ambushes, and other atrocities.

“Many evidences prove Twic community armed youth of Warrap and Gai Machiek rebels responsible for all attacks, ambushes, livestock raiding, burning of houses, kidnapping, raping, and assassination of Ngok Dinka population and government officials inside the Abyei box,” said Koch.

He cited the recent rally by Twic youth, civil society, and chiefs in Warrap in rejection of presidential orders and the expulsion of the Nuer spiritual leader as a clear violation of President Salva Kiir’s directives.

“These demonstrations by Twic have encouraged the Gai Machiek militia and Twic youth to commit the crime within the Abyei box after the presidential orders as follows,” he added.

In a series of incidents, Koch claimed that Twic youth burned the entire Agok neighborhood of Rummer County on January 15, 2024.

He also stated that armed youth and Machiek’s militia plotted to assassinate Mr. Mayot Kunit on October 19, 2023.

According to Abyei information, it includes the December 31, 2023, incident where the deputy chief administrator, Noon Deng Nyok, was killed. As well as the kidnapping of 10 women and the raiding of about 50 goats, among others.

“Therefore, with all the above evidence, it is not possible for a person of sound mind to deny the existence of coordination in executing these attacks on the Ngok Dinka civil population in order to destabilize the ASAA,” Koch underscored.

Two days ago, the two prominent personalities and politicians, Mr. Bona Malual and Dr. Francis Mading, who hail from both communities, appealed to Twic of Warrap and Ngok of Abyei to cease hostilities, reconcile, and embrace peace.

Dr. Mading, an Abyei intellectual, lamented that the persistent fight among the two communities has caused severe pain among peace-loving South Sudanese and beyond, adding that it has chattered the social fabric.

“The conflict has caused much suffering and death for both sides, burned to ashes numerous homes and villages, and shattered centuries of the close affinities that have made these communities one people,” said Mading in a statement seen by No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.

“This spreading violence must be brought to a speedy end,” he continued.

Also, Bona Malwal, who is a veteran South Sudanese politician from Twic Mayardit County in Warrap State, said he has been monitoring the unfortunate cycle of violence with sadness and sorrow for months now.

“This is an appeal to you, Twic Mayardit community, to please disengage and put an end to any further form of violence,” said Malual.

“Wait for how the government of the Republic of South Sudan will act, especially in implementing the recent Republican Orders of the President of the Republic of South Sudan of January 16, 2024, on the conflict between Twic and Ngok Dinka,” he added.

According to the United Nations, a fresh clash between Twic and Ngok last weekend claimed the lives of 54 people, including two UN peacekeepers, and left many others with injuries.

The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) said it “strongly condemns these attacks against civilians and peacekeepers.”



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