The violence in Gambella between the Nuer and the Anyuak is not to be taken lightly. Months Earlier, before the Anyuak Extremist launched an attack on Nuer, some moderate Anyuak have advised their friends and family from the other side of the isle. These families were the Nuer and advised them not to construct residential buildings in Gambella. Their concern was that everything would be a waste.
They further elaborated it more of a new movement, which so many Anyuak have formed, joined and supported, is equipped to disperse the Nuer in Newland.
They said, a large number of Anyuak youths have left their families and are now on training camps with the aim to drive the Nuer out of Gambella. The group is confident in itself that it will be able to achieve its objective.
Their objective is quite clear and simple. Get Out or face the Anyuak power. The Group is talking of displacing not only the Nuer Ethiopians in Gambella town, but also every other Nuer in general including those in the refugee camps.
They want no Nuer in Gambella including in areas that are exlussively inhabited by Nuer such as Lare, Jiokow, Akobo, Wanthoa, Burebiey and Tiergol.
After it finished training of its fighters, what was communicated to the Nuer earlier was later realised. The group started killing of the Nuer in Nuer Heartland of Wanthoa woreda. Eleven (11) women and children who attended the church service were massacred by Anyuak extremist group while the church service was going on. As if that was not enough, the extremist were still thrist with the Nuer blood and continued killing as many as they could possibly get. They started a fight in Itang on a false flag that one of their loved ones went missing possibly a foul play by Nuer.
That was the immedidiate trigger of an all out assault by Anyuak on Nuer. They attacked Bereseb multiple times before attacking other areas inhabited by Nuer such as Itang, Fugnido, Kueyiel and as recent as two days ago in Puldeng.
All these developments point to the objective communicated to the Nuer earlier of a planned attack. Although Nuer have not been moved yet by an inch fron the areas Anyuak wanted them to vacate, that came as a shock to so many Anyuaks who spent much training and efficient amount of time and resources for that to happen. The steep resistance from the Nuer surprise many of them.
The group of Nuer sacrificing their lives may have come as a suprise to Anyuaks because those responding to the threat were untrained civilians as it hostorically is the case. But for the Nuer, it is the moral duety to give ultimate sacrifices in events like that which threaten the lives of vulnerable people such as women and children.
On the other hand, while the Extremist launch attack themselves, they have been loudly screaming in the media that Nuer in the Refugees Camps and Nuer from South Sudan crossed the border coming everywhere in large number are attacking Anyuaks to take the Anyuak land. This is a white lie even verified by the Ethiopian Defence Force which is currently in the region to keep the peace.
The Nuer are the one being attacked in their neiborhoods in Gambella and in Nuer woredas and kebeles. Anyuak have been on the offensive ever since the violence started. So far, they have been the one lauching attack on Nuer. On top of that satalite images are there to help point the fact that they are Nuer Ethiopians being attacked and they are Nuer Ethiopians themselves responding to the threat on villages that came under Anyuak attack.
Further more, Nuer would need to understand that Anyuak rebelion agaist the goverments in Addis Ababa is nothing new. They did that in Derg era where school teachers in the town of Chotgur in former Jiokow woreda were killed. That threat was quelled by the Nuer militia under former governor of Illubabor Ato Thowath Pal Chay.
It is absurd to think that the Anyuak would turn their guns against the Nuer civilians if their grievances relates to the rejection of Abiy’s Goverment. When Gatluak Buom Pal went to the Bush and formed alliance with the OLF, civilians were not the target. No single Anyuak ever lost his life.
The same could be the case for Anyuak if they walk away from Abiy goverment. But they turned against the Nuer and those they are killing have nothing to do with the polictic.
However, if the Anyuak insurgency relates to the land which they always talks about such as their tool ESAT which they always rely on to vilify the Nuer as None Ethiopians, then the Nuer would not have any choice but to fight to live and to exist in Gambella.
It is also important to note that the Nuer would not take the fight themselves but a new militia group would need to be created and trained by Federal Goverment to deal specifically with the threat posed by the extremist.
This would proof significant because they woulod be able to travel to places on foot that otherwise won’t be accessible to Ethiopian Defence Force (ENDF). All fears this group have created and generated in the society could soon be quashed . This would be a reverse result different from what the extremist would be expecting.
The Federal goverment would need to take this opprtunity from any peace loving Gambella and put them under some sort of training. A training is important because on their operations, suspects won’t get targetted based on ethnicty but on intelligence gathered.
There also needs to be a separation between children and women who had no part on this but now dying because the Gambella National and Regional State has allowed the crinmals to spray passenger buses with bulltets killing women and children. This goverment is nothing short of a thuggish style leadership similar to those led by Mafia.
This extremist group which tears the social fabric between the Nuer and Anyuak have always come from Gog anf Jor woredas. They are now abundantly in the bushes in day light and in the houses at night receiving goverment salaries while also attacking the same system which feeds their families.
This group is tarnishing the image of Prime Minister, Abiy’s Administration which cherish peaceful coexistence between ethnic communities such as the Nuer and Anyuak. But the Anyuak of Gog and Jor Woredas have been a serious problem making thr Openo Anyuaks bear the brunt of their crminality.
A lot of Nuer feels about these Openo Anyuaks who are now housed in areas they are not familiar with because some have abandoned their homes and their livelihood. But the Jor and Gog Anyuaks who always start the problem never face the Nuer they always like and want to kill and their children never suffer as a result of their stupidity due to distance.
As Gambellians, we all need to understand that we are now in a 21st century. Whoever is killing civilians is just not conducting ethnic cleansing of that group. He or she is against the goverment of the day. That goverment will provide means to deal with that situation. Abiy’s goverment must be must be supported by all means possible to eradicate any threat that may endanger the lives of Gambella People.
That is why Abiy Administrations would need to be convinced to create militia in Gambella to specifically deal with these threats to hunt down these criminals so that peace loving Anyuak can live freely in their homes. It happned before under Thowath and we need to do it again.