OpEd, Politics

Lost Voices: Remembering the 1964 Akobo massacre

By Manas James Okony


Anya Nya civil war, which lasted from 1955 to 1972, was a conflict between the Sudanese government and the Anya Nya rebels, who were fighting for greater autonomy and political representation in the southern region of Sudan.

The conflict primarily unfolded in the Upper Nile province; a strategically important area due to its being the oil-rich region of Sudan. It mainly involved the Anya Nya fighters and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers, but it’s important to note that the civilian population suffered greatly as well. As a result of the conflict, millions of people were displaced and widespread human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and rape.

One particularly gruesome incident took place on March 27, 1964, where SAF soldiers led by Abubakr al-Wagia raided the village of Arini in the Akobo district of the Upper Nile province. The soldiers were searching for a chief suspected of collaborating with the rebels and believed he was hiding in Arini. In an act of brutal violence, the soldiers tied the hands of over fifty unarmed Anyuak men behind their backs and shot them until they were dead. The men were innocent and had been rounded up while daubing and plastering a hut.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the brutality of war and the toll it takes on innocent civilians. The fact that the victims were tied up and shot in cold blood is particularly chilling and underscores the dehumanizing nature of the conflict. It’s also significant to note that incidents like this were not isolated occurrences during the Anya Nya and subsequent civil wars, as similar atrocities were committed against civilians by SAF in areas such as Awajwok, Bor, and Wau.

Here are names of some of those massacred:

  1. Chief Akodhi wor Jimjweel
  2. Nyikwenyi Owar Didier
  3. Omot Owar (Omotdidier)
  4. Omot Omot Didier (Omotgak)
  5. Anyaal Mok Owar Didier
  6. Otho Odeel (Ajir)
  7. Ogira Odeel
  8. Opiew Odeel
  9. Ochan Odeel
  10. Odeel Oguak
  11. Ogal Owar Agak
  12. Ogalla Owar Agak
  13. Alora Ojor
  14. Lual Obono Atieng
  15. Kwot Oboya
  16. Nyikewo Obongo Okello
  17. Nyinger Ochan
  18. Oballa wor Chilew
  19. Gilo Owar Agak
  20. Ojuuk Janyi
  21. Odari Olimo
  22. Okello Omeeng
  23. Chuat Oluc
  24. Kwalnaam Abui
  25. Mamour Otiedi
  26. Kwot Otiedi
  27. Omot wor-Ajul
  28. Opoga Othol Owar
  29. Janyi Atieng
  30. Ochan Oluc
  31. Omot Ochalla
  32. Aman Agak
  33. Gatkuoth Chuol
  34. Kulang Kuei-Lual
  35. Chief Buya Gilo (killed sometimes later)
  36. Kwot Owar Abull
  37. Nyiken Akwai
  38. Akway Ajany
  39. Ochalla Medho Ogur
  40. Kueijak Olwaa Ojaa
  41. Doril Teny
  42. Omot Abula Obuk
  43. Ochalla Okodo
  44. Omot Otho Ager

Agwa Ngori Ojwok and his son Omotbeet were the sole survivors of the massacre.

The author, Manas James Okony, is a journalist and writer. He can be reached via manasjamesokony@gmail.com

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