By: Morris Kuol Yoll
On July 22nd, South Sudan the People’s Movement/Army Forces (SSPM/A) attacked MAYOM County in the Unity State and killed the Commissioner of Mayom county, Chuol Gatluak Manime, a brother of Honorable Tut Gatluak Kew, the Presidential security advisor.
According to the rebel leader, General Buoy Rolnyang, the attack on Mayom County was retaliation for a military attack on the positions of rebel forces around the Unity State by government forces.
Gen. Buoy is a former commander of government forces in the 1st and 5th infantry divisions who rebelled against the government. He currently resides in Nairobi, Kenya, while his rebel forces are actively fighting the government of South Sudan in the Unity State areas.
Following the attack and the killing of the commissioner on the 22nd of July, Honorable Tut, the Presidential Advisor, made a series of accusations and threats to bring to book those he accuses of killing his brother, the commissioner. He has vowed to hunt down the killers of his brother.
Promptly, Hon. Tut Kew, General Makal Kuol, and the Governor of the Unity State, Joseph Nguen Monytuil, accused Twic County of Warrap State of rebellion.
The Unity State governor alleges that Gai Maciek, a spiritual leader from the Unity State who lives in Twic county, killed the commissioner. Twic county supports him and the rebels that killed the Commissioner in Mayom County.
The accusation was more deliberate and far from the truth because Gai Maciek left the Unity State in 2013 to save his cattle and children after he disagreed with the warlords of the Unity State. Gai’s clan and General Chuol Gatluak’s clan have tribal feuds: they fight among one another. Gai Maciek is also a relative of General Buoy, and this has compounded his insecurity in the Unity State.
In 2021, General Chuol Gatluak attacked Gai’s cattle camp, killing his relatives. Gai fought back and killed some of Gatluak’s men. According to Gai, Gen. Chuol Gatluak attacked his cattle camp because Gai’s clan men did not participate in the war against Jieng’s neighbors who fought with Wen Dengit’s Clan. Only five men from Gai’s clan followed General Gatluak and Wen Dengdit’s men to fight against Dinka. This infuriated Gen. Chuol who took his complaint to Wen Dengdit and asked him to go after Gai Maciek’s cattle as a punishment.
With that understanding, Gen. Gatluak went after Gai’s cattle camp and encircled it. At the time, Gai was not in the cattle camp, but his tribal men fought vigorously and killed some of Gen. Gatluak’s men.
The government of the Unity State intervened to settle the issue. However, Gai was only forced to pay compensation: one person killed was compensated with one-hundred-and-thirty (130) head of cattle for a total of eight (8) people his men killed. Gai paid the compensation, then left the Unity State to settle in Twic county where he made peace with Jieng and lived among them.
Nevertheless, his rivals in the Unity State felt uneasy about his settlement in Twic County for many reasons. The first reason is that most of the Generals and warlords of the Unity State raided cattle in Twic county to enrich themselves. Gai’s settlement in Twic County would impede and often prevent smooth operations against Twic or Warrap State to steal cattle. The second reason is the Abyei war operation against Twic County.
Architects of the Twic-Abyei’s war factored into their plan using Nuers of the Unity State to fight Twic County.
General Makal Deng Kuol, Honorable Gatluak’s right-hand man, is from Abyei and has dual Unity State citizenship. His mother is from the Unity State and indeed he was brought up in the unity State.
Immediately, after Ngok of Abyei fought with Twic County, the general was deployed to Majakkol by the government of South Sudan to militarily keep the peace between Twic county and the Abyei Community, despite concerns and accusations held against him [Gen. Makal Kuol] by Twic Community.
General Makal joined his forces with Abyei youth after his deployment and attacked Twic county multiple times. He was later reinstructed to go back to the 4th Division in the Unity State where he actively participates in supporting Abyei youth in acting against Twic County.
As a result, and for tactical reasons, the warlords of the Unity State did not let Gai live in peace in his new refuge homeland. Quite often, they would go after him to loot the rest of his cattle. But Gai always defends his cattle since he left the Unity State, along with the population of his Payam, except the elderly.
Hence, when the SSPA rebels killed General Chuol Gatluak in Mayom, Gai Maciek became a target for the following reasons: first, he is a cousin to General Buoy, and killing him as an act of revenge against General Buoy will settle some of the family’s feud and an old score. Secondly, getting rid of him will militarily open up Twic county for a military attack that will ease the pressure of war against the Abyei Special administration. Thirdly, general Tut Kew has scores to settle in attacking Twic County. On May 17, 2022, his brother’s family was accidentally killed in Twic county in the heat of the Twic-Abyei conflict. And Gai Maciek refused to ally with General Makal Kuol in attacking Twic county when he [Gai] was approached and asked to participate in vengeance against Twic County.
Therefore, Honorable Tut and his General, Makal Kuol, feel that the Mayom incident justifies accusations against Gai and attacks on the Twic community in retaliation against Twic and Stephen Buoy.
In this pretext, Honorable Tut has sworn to militarily attack and destroy Twic County, or to resign from the government if the dissidents accused of involvement in an incident that led to the killing of his brother are not handed over to him by Twic County.
One of the people he meant was a spiritual leader, Gai Maciek, from the Bull Nuer section of the Unity State who fled the State in 2013 to seek refuge with his cattle in Twic County, Warrap State. The rest of the dissidents are Gai men wounded in General Makal’s attack in Manyang village in Twic County. These wounded individuals were treated in Turalie hospital.
Honorable Tut Gatluak called them rebels and asked Twic authorities to hand them to the Unity State Government, or else he would ensure that Twic County is militarily attacked by the South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF).
To achieve his aim, General Makal was supplied with military equipment including three (3) tanks, armored cars, and ammunition, and ordered to attack Ajak Kuac.
Then Honorable Tut Kew went on the diplomatic front to pressure both Twic county and Warrap governments in arresting Gai Maciek and his supporters in Twic county.
Hon. Tut’s attempt to convince Warrap State and Twic County to hand over Gai Maciek, was launched after several failed attempts against the rebels responsible for the killing of his brother, as well as on Gai’s cattle camp.
After Mayom’s rebels attack, government troops attempted to go after the rebels. The attempt was a disaster. The government troops led by General Makal Kuol were ambushed, and a fleet of military cars and weapons that were sent by the Honorable Tut was destroyed.
It followed that General Makal launched more than three attacks against the rebels and that all attempts failed. General Makal crossed over to Twic County to attack Gai’s cattle camp, but his military operations in raiding Gai’s cattle failed.
Warrap and the Unity State attempted shady dealings:
Having charged Twic County with rebellion, Tut Gatluak, the Presidential security advisor, and Governor of the Unity State, Dr. Nguen Monytuil approached Warrap Governor, General Aleu Ayieny. They reported that Twic county was hosting rebels. With such an accusation, they pressured the governor of Warrap State to ask Twic County to hand over the accused.
Before that, Honorable Tut contacted the police in Twic county and ordered them to arrest Gai’s tribal men who were admitted to Turalie Hospital. These individuals were wounded when General Makal Kuol raided their cattle camp. The Police administration in Twic County contacted the Governor’s office in Warrap State and told the Governor of Warrap about the request made by Hon. Tut Kew.
Initially, Honorable Tut bypassed the Governor of Warrap State and as a result, the Governor of Warrap instructed that the Chief of Police in Twic County decline the order. This order happened after the Unity State’s series of fights with rebels and attacks on Gai Maciek’s cattle camp that did not go well with the Unity State.
As a last resort, the Unity State governor finally approached the Governor of Warrap State to ensure that Gai Maciek, as well as his men in Twic county, be handed over to the Unity State.
Similarly, Hon. Tut approached the Sudanese authorities to arrest those he accused of killing his brother, the commissioner of Mayom County. To his luck, his bribery succeeded with Sudanese authorities: the killers of his brothers were arrested and handed over to the authority of the Unity State and were immediately executed by the firing squad, with one of the rebels being burned alive.
Had Twic county handed Gai Maciek to the Unity State authority as requested, Gai would have been burned alive like the rebels extrajudicially killed by the firing squad and the burning execution practice in the Unity State.
Anyhow, Warrap state did not yield to the Unity State’s request. Instead, the Governor of Warrap, Gen. Aleu Ayieny sent a three men delegation, led by the Honorable Richard Kuot, deputized by Honorable Maper Ahol and Honorable Mapper Mayom to Twic County to verify accusations made against Twic County by the Unity State Governor, Dr. Nguen Monytuil.
The delegation from Warrap State arrived in Twic County in the first week of August 2022 and held a meeting with the Twic administration and six paramount chiefs of Twic county. First, the delegation met in Turalie with Paramount Chiefs and the authorities in Twic county and finally met with Gai Maciek in Ajak Kuac.
In both meetings, the delegation presented the following accusations made against Twic County by the Unity State government and the request made by the Governor of Warrap State to resolve the situation: The conversation between Warrap Government delegation chiefs is in the attached audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bZPeS-7vn0
• That the Twic County has rebelled against the government of South Sudan in its involvement in the Unity State incident in Mayom County, which killed the commissioner, Gen. Chuol Gatluak Manime with the following evidence: Gai Maciek killed the Commissioner of Mayom County, Gai Maciek Ambushed, and burned the military cars and took the guns, money, and ammunitions, that Gai Maciek was again accused in a recent fight in Manyang village in which his men were killed and some wounded.
• That the Twic Community refused to hand over Gai Maciek to the Unity State authorities, and that the Twic Community threatened to fight with those who will arrest Gai Maciek in Twic County.
• That the governor of Warrap State knows and understands the threat that Gai Maciek faces if he remains in Twic County. And as a result, the governor is afraid for Gai’s life in Twic County. As a solution, the governor proposed that Gai Maciek leave Twic County to relocate to Kuacjok where Warrap State authorities will protect him from harm.
Paramount Chiefs responded to the accusations and Governor requested to relocate Gai Maciek to relocate to Kuacjok, Warrap Capital.
The Unity State, along with some shadowy individuals, crafted an accusation to implicate Twic society and Gai Maciek. Hence, Twic Paramount chiefs questioned Gai Machiek’s involvement in the Mayom incident. Gai Maciek was in Ajack Kuac when the commissioner was killed. Additionally, Gai Maciek was with the chiefs when rebels ambushed the government vehicles and were burned by the rebels that killed the commissioner of Mayom county.
In two meetings, with the Warrap delegation, chiefs verified that Gai Maciek lives in harmony with Twic county since he settled in Twic county. Gai decided to stay in Twic county where he married his two wives, commented one of the chiefs. Hence, the community considered him a member of the community.
As of April Garang Dengdit, the Nuer spiritual leader in Unity State, together with Gai, called all Twic paramount chiefs to strengthen peace between the people of Twic and the Unity State. For three days, in the presentence (presence?) of both the Unity State Government and Twic County authorities, the community sacrificed their animals for peace and celebrated for three days in the Unity state, explained the chief.
Likewise, Chiefs invited Garang Dengdit to Twic County and the same sacrifices and peace celebration was conducted in Twic in the presence of both Unity State and Twic County authorities. At the time, Gai Maciek was there, and the government authority did not accuse him of anything. “I am surprised that a peaceful individual is the one accused,” said one of the chiefs “Two years ago,” said the chief, Gai Maciek, and Garang Dengdit moved to AKURTONG and lived peacefully with the community. Then came the flood and Wen Dengdit invited Tor Makol [the chief of the area] and asked him to make peace between the two communities.
Tor Makol accepted the invitation and went to the Unity State to meet Wen Dengdit. In this fashion, peace was made in the presence of the government, and it was agreed that whoever steals cattle from both sides will be stopped and the cattle returned to the owner. That agreement worked well with all, except one person, as Gen. Makal did not honor it. “Who is then the rebel?” asked the Paramount Chiefs: “Someone who is threatening to attack the community or Gai who has been here peacefully for years?”
Besides, explained the chief, “Stephen Buoy is a politician and Gai a civilian.” Unity State did not tell us that he was a general or that he had done anything wrong when we celebrated peace in the Unity State. “Every year”, the chief said, “we came to AGURTONG military base to discuss how the neighboring community can stay in peace and the army encourages the communities to live in peace.
In June and later in October, we met in BOMBIL. After that Gai went to Ajak Kuac and stayed there. Then on Tuesday, when Gai was accused, we were with him and all of us, including Gai, heard about the killing of the commissioner and the attack that destroy military vehicles. Regarding the recent fighting between Gai men and General Makal, his cattle camp was attacked, and he fought to defend his cattle said the chief. Gai has his people in the Unity State and when they heard that Gai was going to be attacked, they came for his aid and that is what happened.”
Gai Maciek responds to the accusations:
“What brought the accusation, and now the war is the result of three (3) things. One came with me and two found me here. When the war started with Ngok, I was asked to join the fighting to help Ngok of Abyei. I refused and that is one problem. The second problem is the people killed in Twic in May: I meant the people who came in three (3) cars from Juba and were later killed in Twic on their way to the Unity State included Gen. Chuol’s wife. When people from the Unity State were killed in Twic county in April, I was asked to leave Twic because they said that they will attack Twic. I told them why fighting, when people are killed accidentally, could be compensated like you did last time when people from Twic killed in the Unity State were compensated. Then they told me that if I do not join them or leave Twic then they will fight me. I ignored their threat and kept silent. My refusal to be involved in Twic and Ngok’s conflict is another problem. Since then, Gen. Makal calls my people to steal themselves and go to Abyei and help Ngok; some did and even return passing through Twic, and no one stops them.
Besides, we are from Bul Nuer: my clan and Gen Chuol fight one another. In the Unity State, when your brother rebels, your properties are looted. This is our culture. When Buoy rebelled, they looted everything from our family. These are three things that I know.
Regarding the recent fight, I was protecting my cattle. I have established myself here. I have ninety-five farms and cattle. And when they took the cattle, I told my people to let them take it, and then we will go after them to take them back. They Let them take the cattle. And then we followed the cattle until we got the chance to take them back.
In short, I have decided to stay in Barh El Gazal. I will stay in Bahr Gazal because I have seen the difference. I did not move here in total. I left some of my wives and elders and a few cows in my village. Still, they follow me to take my cattle. Why can’t they just take some of the cattle I left behind and stop following me?
Coming to the accusation of having killed the commissioner, how would I have killed someone like him, with his big guns and a lot of men like him? Besides his security, Gatluak Mijok and Gen. Buoy admitted to killing him. Why then accuse me or charge me with his death?
About why I fought the commissioner a year ago, he attacked and killed my people, so I fought with him. In the end, I was made to compensate his people. I paid one hundred and thirty per person killed. Then In a recent fight, with Makal forces, my cattle were attacked and seven of my people were killed: five (5) cousins and one is my brother-in-law, and another is my sister’s son. Who would compensate for their killing? Is this the way the government treats its people? Killing civilians like this whom they will rule?
Concerning Makal, he cannot pressure me to join him in fighting Abyei’s War. Makal is a Jieng, and I am a Nuer.”
In summary, Twic paramount Chiefs refused an offer to relocate Gai Maciek from Twic County to Warrap Capitol, Kuacjok. All paramount chiefs told the delegation that since Gai has settled here with his family and cattle, he should be allowed to stay unless he wants to leave. Gai Maciek can move to other parts of Twic County far away from the Unity State like Amiol, Adiang, Chabok, or Akoch Payam said all the chiefs. Their refusal saved Gai’s life. Gai would have either ended in hands of the Unity State authority like those rebels that were handed to the Unity State about the same time Honorable Tut Kew and Governor Nguen Monytuil asked Warrap state to hand over the accused or he [Gai] would be in detention in Kuacjok against his will.
Evidence of political and military assault on the Twic Community.
After rebels attacked Mayom County, Unity State, and killed the commissioner, Chuol Gatluak Manime, the Twic Community came under military threat. Tut Gatluak, the Presidential Advisor, accused Twic county of rebellion and swore to resign if Twic county is not militarily attacked by the SSDF. As well, Vice President, Hussein Abdulbagi Ayii openly altered the same accusation and threat against the Twic community. Then, General Makal Kuol was supplied with ammunition, armored cars, and guns to assault Twic county. Up to the time the delegation was sent from Warrap State to investigate the accusation of rebellion against the Twic, General Makal was on standby militarily ready to attack Twic county.
On the other hand, General Akuei Ajou, in the same week, killed someone in Ajong, Adiang County in front of his family with impunity. The young man was shot in front of his wife and a child. Then soldiers dragged his body in front of his wife, his infant child, and the community. It was an attempt by General Akuei Ajou to provoke the Twic community into fighting the South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF). Had the community responded by fighting back, Twic county would have been militarily attacked and destroyed by the SSDF.
In addition, another military General and his troops were sent to Twic county in June. This General who is still, at this time, in Twic county, added to the number of military generals deployed in Twic County since February of 2022 when Twic and Ngok fought in Aneet.
Currently, the total number of military Generals deployed in Twic County is up to four (4). First, it was Gen. Akuei Ajou, then Gen. Makal Kuol and followed by General Achol Makoi and recently another Military general. All of them deployed their forces in Twic County.
With all government troops deployed in Twic County’s territory, the county still confronts formidable insecurity from Abyei and the Unity State. After Mayam county rebels attacked, there was a substantial number of Nuer militia built up in Abyei intended to attack Twic County from the West, while General Makal would stage his attack from the east of Twic. The militia forces were General Makal Kuol’s men.
For the purpose of deception, the militia force in question was reported to be General Buoy’s rebel forces in Twic county to justify Twic support of the rebellion against the government of South Sudan. The operation was planned by General Kuol Deim and General Makal and shadowy individuals within the government of South Sudan. The intention was to combine General Makal’s militia with Abyei youth and attack Wunrok and Turalei while Makal attacked Ajak Kuac.
This operation against Twic county came to a halt when Sudanese security captured rebels that killed the commissioner in Mayom County and handed them over to the Unity State. The captured rebels were mercilessly executed in the Unity State without a trial. The world’s outcry against how rebels were extrajudicially executed saved Twic County from an engineered attack.
Nevertheless, the threat against the Twic Community is clear and persistently unwinding. It is worth mentioning that in June of 2022, the Chief of General of Defense of the South Sudan Defense Force ordered the high-ranking military personnel from Twic and Ngok communities to appear in a meeting called in the Bilpam Military Headquarters in Juba.
Strangely, the letter dated 23rd of June 2022 was written by General Kuol Deng About from the Abyei community and signed by General Santino Deng Wol. In other words, the letter was intended for only high-ranking military personnel in the Twic community. The meeting was finally held with the Chief of General Defense, though its contents and conclusion were sketchy.
Yet, it is apparent that the letter and the meeting were meant to threaten and intimidate members of the Twic Community serving in the South Sudan Defense Force. Indeed, the letter was written after the Commissioner of Twic County was arrested and has been imprisoned up to the present without charges. Also, the letter to the high-ranking Twic officers followed that individuals from the Twic Community that serve in the military service, in Majakkol, were unfairly accused, arrested, and jailed.
Moreover, the letter to the high-ranking Twic Military personnel was written when members of Parliament from Twic county were threatened to be jailed by the Vice President, Hussein Abdulbagai Ayii in his house. The MPS from Twic county, at the time, visited Vice President Abdulbagi Ayii’s house on request to visit a jailed Twic Commissioner in the Vice President’s house.
The Vice President granted the visitation requisition to the MPS. Unfortunately, the Vice President started the conversation by blaming the head of the delegation of the MPS for the remark he made on separate occasions. The conversation spiraled downward, and the Vice President ordered one member of the MPS to leave his house, which resulted in all the MPS leaving his house.
Since April, when the Cessation of Hostility Agreement was signed between Twic and Abyei communities, maximum security in the county remains. To make it harder on the community, the government put the commissioner in incarceration, leaving the county for months without a commissioner despite insecurity in the county. On the one hand, the Chief of General Defense only deploys one general after another in the County adding to the insecurity in the county, while the President of South Sudan, H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit remains silent when his security advisor Honorable Tut Kew and Vice President Hussein Abdulbagi Ayii threaten to attack the community.
Morris Kuol Yoll resides in Alberta Canada. He could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403.228.3290