News / Africa

S. Sudan's Youth Return Home to Fight Government

FILE - A man from the Luo Nuer tribe carries his gun in Yuai Uror county, South Sudan.
FILE - A man from the Luo Nuer tribe carries his gun in Yuai Uror county, South Sudan.
Marthe van der Wolf
Young South Sudanese who fled the conflict in their country are returning to fight against the government; hundreds have already returned, and more are packing their bags.
 
About 100 South Sudanese between the age of 18 and 40 left the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, this past week, and up to 300 more are expected to leave in the coming two weeks.
 
Gatdet, 31, fled to Ethiopia one month ago. He is an ethnic Nuer and feared for his life in Juba, where he worked as a sales representative. Gatdet said he must go back and fight for his country, on the side of the opposition.
 
“I don’t have a country basically now so I have to fight for it to go back and live there. The people in the opposition, they were part of SPLM, then they had wanted SPLM internal reforms which president refused. They refused to sit together and have internal dialogues, and discuss problem and way forward. We have to fight with opposition because first time this problem started, then the president refused democratic transition to move forward," said Gatdet.
 
More than 500 young South Sudanese have shown an interest in going back home and fighting. The elders in South Sudanese refugee communities have tried to discourage some, especially the students, saying education is more important, but their arguments are barely heard.
 
James, 38, fled to Ethiopia shortly after fighting broke out in December. He received military training as a child as part of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, but never actually fought. He said he is now ready to defend his country and is scheduled to leave in two weeks.
 
“The fact [is] that the war was imposed on the majority of South Sudan. We feel that if the leadership does not see dialogue as a mean of peaceful solution of things, then now we have violence. We, the population, accept war, so let us go into the field and let us see who is going to win this and if we win military. Then we will prove whoever who imposed this war on us wrong,” said James.
 
Both Gatdet and James said they are going home voluntarily and have not been recruited by the opposition. The returning South Sudanese also include a few females among them. From Addis Ababa, they will fly to Ethiopia’s southwestern region, Gambella. From there they will cross the river into South Sudan and travel to opposition-held areas. After receiving military training and a rank, everyone will be tasked with specific duties, which include frontline fighting.
 
Fighting in South Sudan broke out mid-December after President Salva Kiir accused his former vice president Riek Machar of planning a coup. The East African bloc IGAD has been mediating peace talks and announced last week that a stabilization and protection force should be send to South Sudan.
 
Gatdet said he does not support the intervention of foreign troops and doubts their credibility.
 
“Why are they collecting troops? In that case it will be a question of how these troops are going to be neutral. Because if you put them on the oil field, why are they protecting oil fields? It means they are also strengthening the government which is killing its own people,” said Gatdet.
 
Peace negotiations between the two fighting parties have made little progress. Although two agreements were signed in January, including a cessation of hostilities, fighting continues and the talks have been postponed till late March.

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Comments
     
by: walter Donge from: United State
March 11, 2014 4:39 PM
Us Nuer men, we know children don't learn-from people who don't love them. Us Nuer men you can count on others but it's better to use your own fingers and toes. Always do what you say you are going to do. it is the glue and fiber binds successful relationships.

Today i will find out how to do it myself and then do it for ever. There are victories of the soul and spirit sometimes, even if you lose, you win. Everybody has to be somebody to somebody to be anybody. When we turn to each other, and not on each other, that's victory.

President Kiir didn't remember the forgotten shreds of simplicity in our quet hearts and didn't know the key to everything is patience. you only get the chicken alive by hatching the egg, not by smashing it. Kiir must leave South Sudan forever and never come back. Because he make wrong history of South Sudan.

by: yoyo jj from: juba
March 11, 2014 4:36 PM
the president should realize that with out people he will not carry the title the early the better people are dieing he should ignore what the former vice did and resolve it peacefully

by: kim from: gai
March 11, 2014 6:28 AM
The time it's for dialogue not for fighting and we are now the boss side killing the civilians for nothing the only resolution for this war is dialogue

by: Wango Benjamin from: Nairobi
March 11, 2014 6:11 AM
any force fighting for the freedom of the country must have the national identity. but these thugs of Lou 're just upto no proper mandate and missions as well, firstly; they 're all Nuer and from the same region of Upper Nile, at least it could make sense if you can find an Equatorian, a Dinka, a Shilluk, Murle, Anuak and so forth fighting along with them. in Kiir's forces, even Nuer still outnumbered the national army which possibly make some sense when it comes to being united as a country.

by: Sudani from: kc mo
March 10, 2014 10:30 PM
it make sense if this youth fighiting for their people, but we are all one people if you think about it somewhere in nuer their is dinka blood running in them, and not all dinka are fighting nuer, if you go many places in dinka land they are not arming people to fight nuer, but i think a lot of nuer youth are not educated that's the biggest problem that's why Riek took adventage of that, don't be his next victim, and Riek grandfather is dinka he got dinka in him too.
In Response

by: Kidepo from: Kampala, Uganda
March 11, 2014 7:13 AM
I am not Nuer or dinka but from other minorities group in the RSS. President Kiir has already mess our country with killing of innocent blood of Nuer on Dec 15, 16, 17 and up to now. Under Kiir the dinkas are behaving like dynaosur in the RSS with no respect to minorities as though the RSS belongs to dinka alone. Dinkas have grabb lands, loot properties, institutionalized corruption, intimidate others and did all HR abuses just to mention but few.

Kiir must go most of other non dinkas in the RSS are fed up of kiirocrazy tribalistic regime

by: nora from: u s a
March 10, 2014 3:00 PM
Why nuer are saying they are fighting for they country? . they are fighting for their tribes to a leader in s.Sudan.

by: Abel Ogah from: OJU Nigeria
March 10, 2014 12:14 PM
Young man, remember that he who lives by the sword shall die by it. Is that the better option?
In Response

by: Casray from: Western
March 12, 2014 9:43 AM
On contrary what is happening in Nigeria.

by: hoth from: uganda
March 10, 2014 10:57 AM
its reasonable for the youth to join that war dearly due to their love towards change with in the country ss i agree.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: USA
March 10, 2014 6:01 PM
This senseless killing should be put to an end. There shiuld be a way to resolve this conflict if both Salva and Rick want to stop it but both want the power so bad, they will sacrifice the youth of South Sudan. In my my option both should stand down and pave the way for new leadership and let them retired from politic. Because if Rick become a president tomorrow again another group will pick arm and start fighting again so it's an ending cycle of violence, my fear is if we Southern and international communities don't up enough attention on this conflict, this will be another Somalia in the making...
In Response

by: me from: South Sudan
March 10, 2014 12:31 PM
I do not think you young are going back to fight for your country, you are going back to fight for democracy. South Sudan is belonging to all of us do not use the language that does not make sense. Do not write for yourself write for others to read. Whatever you write would be read by thousands of people. What you think for others Southern Sudanese if you say South Sudan is belonging to Nuer? I am sorry for the way you people write to readers. Through your language God will never make you win your democracy thank you.
In Response

by: Both from: Juba
March 10, 2014 11:58 AM
I do completely agree with the war. It's the only thing that kiir understands. The blood of innocent Nuer could not go in vain. Kiir has to go.

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