By Duach R.Mach
April 18, 2016
We are writing this letter on behalf of the Ethiopian Nuer Community in the United States of America about the killing of innocent Ethiopians that occurred in 13 villages of the Gambella’s Nuer Zone. This happened on Friday April 15, 2016, where the lives of over 210 vulnerable innocent souls were cut short, over 150 others were wounded and the abduction of 108 children.
We have known that the people of Gambella National Regional State along with 92 million others throughout our nation are very much distraught by the death of our innocent civilians; children women and the elderly who have been annihilated by these barbaric and primitive tribes of Murle from South Sudan.
We write this letter to you to consider our message at your greatest priority. While we understood your sympathy toward the death of your nationals, we felt a little bit uncomfortable as to how we are viewed in this nation of ours especially when our entire villages were erased from the face of this earth and the help was never anywhere nearer.
This developed a second thought within ourselves on how different a response could have been imaging that the attack happen elsewhere for instance, let say, Bench Maji Zone which also borders with these human-like animals. In fact, we thought that our government has let us down seemingly unprotective toward its citizens from an outside attack like what has been occurring to us in a yearly basis being inflicted by the Murle of South Sudan in Gambella.
The recent fighting was the worst it has been so far as it took some several hours before the attackers could kill as many civilians as they could get. The questions everyone in the Nuer zone would like to know is where our Defense Forces was as well as the Gambella National Regional State officials at that horrible moment?
The two major roads which links Gambella with Nuer Zone are less than an hour drive. A well organize back up of defense force from Gambella to beep up the force already in the Nuer zone town of Nyinenyang could have made much difference.
So what delayed the Ethiopian Defense Forces from rescuing innocent civilians at the time when they received the phone call that we were under attack? I think our response was not good enough because while the fighting was raging for hours, the Murle were doing their best to finish everyone they could get.
Whatever the case is, the Ethiopian Federal Government should not have sat idle by. An immediate and swift action was paramount. Had they done that, the children would have been rescued while they were still inside the Ethiopian soil and handed over to relatives as their parents were all killed.
That bothers us a lot and eventhough we live thousands of miles away from home, we will in fact be in position to let your authority know that we are always deeply disturbed physically and emotionally when news like this nature breaks. This is not the first time the Ethiopian Nuers were massacred in the region or in the country as a whole by an outsider notably the Murle and the SPLA (former name for South Sudan Rebels who are now the ruling party in South Sudan).
We lived through that phase during the Derg era when torture and the loss of lives of the Gambella people in the hands of SPLA was so common. Our girls and women were being raped in the watch of rightful individuals. If anyone asks for the reason why that occur that should symbolize the bystander requesting his or her coffin.
Waterboarding on our people by the SPLA was also on its high a form of punishment preferred by the SPLA. However, there seemed to have been a big difference of our security under EPDRF compared to under Derg. We feel that we are much more valued under EPDRF and having said that we would like to express that we do not wish anyone to wind the clock back to the darker days in the past when Gambellian lives were considered unimportant.
Therefore, these humans-like animals of Murle needs to be dealt with once and for all because the last three-week attack was not the first of its kind in the Ethiopian soil.
It occurred several time before and yet no tangible action has ever been taken either seeking justice for the deceased or to deter the perpetrators from launching any further attack. It happened in Ngor Kebele (Teluth) and later in Palbol Kebele, 7 years ago. Yet we as Ethiopians seems to go about our business.
As this has been a yearly routine for the Murle, we want to assure you that the unceasing death of the Ethiopian civilians in Gambella is really going to be a long-term problem if there are no concrete measures taken to convince the Murle that when they kill Ethiopians then the Ethiopian Military will always be in the front foot hunting them down and triple the price.
This step is absolutely necessary because the Murle has never been associated with any form of development or rule of law. The kind of law that they would understand and which could best work as a future deterrence is for the Ethiopian Defense Force to bomb the hell out of them and set ablaze Likwangole county and its entire surroundings.
As such they would feel the pain of the loss of their loved ones like we are currently going through. When they realized that it hurts losing a family member, mum or dad, a brother or a sister then, it would be the time that they stop attacking us.
Another thing that we would like to put to your attention is that these people who killed us were fully armed men. They did not look like ordinary civilians. We therefore thought that it is legitimate for our government which you are a Prime Minster of to investigate who might have well-armed them, under what purpose they were armed and if there were any hypotheses we could build. Another thing to note is that we want you to not only peruse the strategy of our kids but also dig deep the reason behind these large scale killing, abduction and the rustling of cattle to ascertain if there were any underlying issues.
We believed that there was a monster somewhere who might have whispered through the ears of these human-like animals to do their dirty work. But what they would need to understand is that Nuer Ethiopians are Nuer Ethiopians and they will always be. As such an attack in their villages has no different with an attack on Jimma zone part of the reason why many have now seen the Ethiopian Fighter jets hovering in South Sudan’s air space in the quest for justice.
Henceforth, we strongly condemn this barbaric killing by these primitives who attacked and killed the innocent civilians, abducted children, and took thousands of livestock by the hard-headed tribe Murle. The entire region of Gambella National and Regional State strongly condemns all sorts of violent acts carried out by the South Sudanese and must not be tolerated. If they want to understand us by imposing some sort of capital punishment, well what can we do if that is what they are happy of.
On April 16, 2016, Regional President Ato Gatluak Tut went to all Kebeles, and confirmed the deceases, the wounded civilian in hundreds and the many abducted children. He also confirmed the attackers used heavy weapons and wore military uniforms.
In conclusion—Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved one of those killed and seriously injured. We stand together with the people of Gambella Ethiopia in this time of sorrow. Condemning the violence and barbarism committed by the Murle tribe of South Sudan will never be forgotten. Such a massacre cannot go unpunished. The Nuer from Diaspora stands in solidarity with the families who have lost their loved ones during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We all so wish our Lord Jesus to bless our Military, the Ethiopian Defense Forces in the jungles of rural Gambella and South Sudan in their search to bring our children and livestock back to the Ethiopian Soil.
May God Bless you in the service of our nation,
Duach R. Mach
on Behalf of the Ethiopian Nuer community Currently residing in the United States of America
He can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org