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REPORT OF VISIT TO NYAL AND GANGLIEL IN PREPARATION FOR THE COMING NUER – DINKA CONFERENCE (WEST BANK)

By: Rev. Mathew M. Deang

Justice & Peace Coordinator

Upper Nile

 

 

I left Nairobi on 12th October 1998 for Lokichoggio. I spent 5 days in Loki waiting for transport to Nyal. I went to Nyal on October 17th 1998. On my arrival in Nyal I was welcome by both the Presbyterian and Catholic Christians. After greetings at the airstrip. I was taken to RASS compound for accommodation, because the Church compound has been taken over by the floods, also the PRDA compound is occupied by W.F.P people who are repairing Nyal airstrip.

 

On 19th October 1998, I had a meeting with the administrative authority of Nyal, attended by the following personalities:

 

  1. Peter Nyoung Danhier Head Chief
  2. Gordon Dachcieng Deputy H/Chief
  3. A/Cdr. Stephen Riek Lorjok Assistant Commissioner
  4. Capt. Simon Koang Thiec District Commander
  5. Capt. John Puot Kiech Deputy District Commander
  6. John Jock Machak Trader Representative
  7. David Dang Lam Trader Representative
  8. William Galiak Danhier Head Master of Nyal Primary School
  9. John Nhial Manyoun Catholic Catechist
  10. Daniel Raan Duong PCOS Evangelist
  11. Nhial Chatem Joak Acting RASS Secretary
  12. Archangelo Kur Yay Medical Assistant
  13. Rev. Mathew M. Deang Chairman of the meeting

 

  1. All participants expressed their support for peace and reconciliation between Nuer and Dinka, they said they will never attack Dinka unless for self defense if they are attacked. Chief Isaac Magok Gatluak of Leer, Chief Peter Nyuong Danhier of Nyal, and Rev. George Riak Kuirthio had briefed the community and local authorities in Leer and Koch following the Loki Peace Conference. They had also sent messages to Nyal prior to the attacks of Matip’s militia.

 

It should be noted that Dinka sent back six (6) Nuer captives and the Nuer were collecting Dinka captives to be returned to Dinka land. By the time I was visiting Nyal, four (4) Dinka captives were taken back to Dinka lands. They should have been returned earlier but the arrangement was disrupted by the attack on Leer by Paulino Matip Mhiaal’s Militia on 29th June 1998, July 17th and September 25th 1998. Dinka bordering Nyal, Ganyliel and Leer are very friendly due the Peace Conference conducted in Lokichoggio during June 1998.

 

Also by the time I left the area, the children of a Dinka man called James Magok were ready to be taken back to Dinka. They were six (6) children plus their mother. They were to be exchanged with three (3) Nuer children who were in the Dinka land with the same man James Magok. The names of the Nuer Children are :

 

  1. Nyawic Gatluak Yei
  2. Nyayen Gatluak Yei
  3. Malam Gatluak Yei

 

Dinka children names who are in the Nuer land are:

 

  1. Panam James Magok
  2. Majuoc James Magok
  3. Both James Magok
  4. Nyibal James Magok
  5. Madit James Magok
  6. A new born baby
  7. Nyapini Gatluak Yei, the mother (wife)

 

The chiefs and community leaders also recommended very strongly that exchange visits, which were recommended during the June conference, must be done before the major Nuer-Dinka Peace Conference. Two Chiefs from the Nuer side should go and visit Dinka land and two Dinka Chiefs should go and visit the Nuer land as soon as possible. The two from Nuer are:

 

1) Isaac Magok Gatluak of Leer

2) Peter Nyuong Danhier of Nyal

 

They asked NSCC to carry out this if possible. Concerning the Western Nuer sub-tribes reconciliation: It is not possible now because of insecurity in the areas. But a preparation process leading to hold a conference is going on.

 

While in the area of Western Upper Nile following situation was reported.

 

  1. People are normally expecting at this time of the year to have their harvest. However, they are now faced with severe difficulties of hunger caused by two events:

 

  1. Insecurity in the area
  2. Flooding in the area

 

The summary of people affected by insecurity and flood are as follow:-

95% of the people in Leer, Koch, Duar, Nhial Diew and Mankien are due to insecurity.

 

75% of the people in Payinjar district south of Leer area of Nyal and Gangliel are due to flooding, the villages concerned are Gakal, Youb, Palual, Tharbar, Nyadoung, Pathiel and Luali.

 

Towns considered requiring assistance in order of priority are

 

  1. Nyal flooding
  2. Gangliel flooding
  3. Leer Insecurity
  4. Koch Insecurity
  5. Duar Insecurity
  6. Nhial Diew Insecurity
  7. Mankien Insecurity

 

  1. Leer was attacked by forces of Paulino Matip three time between the months of June and September 1998. The first attack was on 29th June 1998 follow by second and third attacks on July 17 and September 25th 1998 the first attack was mainly on Leer Town and the village along the routes while the other two attacks spread further into the villages. A total of 23,700 heads of cattle are reported to have been looted during the attack.
  2.  

    Fish and wild vegetables are the major sources of food. There is report of some house holds having started bartering their livestock for grain at Adok port with traders coming from Malakal.

     

    There is no health services in the areas of Leer, Koch, Duar and Nhial Diu. While there is an acute health need such as relapsing fever and scabies that are affecting the population, the main ailments are relapsing fever which has killed mainly pregnant women and children and also scabies and Malaria. While I was in Nyal one person died of relapsing fever. Malnutrition rates were reported to be very high in Nyal. About three hundred and eighty (380) malnutrition children are in feeding centres.

     

    The immediate priority as expressed by the people are food, drugs (human and vet) non-food items are mosquito nets and fishing tools, education materials and constructing tools and seeds and tools are expressed to be their long term needs.

     

  3. It was reported that the price for grain coming from the North has increased from 45,000 dinnars per 90 kg per sack to 60,000. Also due to the lack of cash flow the value of livestock is depressed. The below are some of the prices reported:

 

    1. One pregnant cow was between 70 – 80,000 dinnar. Now it is 70,000 – 50,000 dinnars.
    2.  

    3. One medium bull was between 100 – 120,000 dinnar now it is 70,000 – 50,000 dinnars
    4.  

    5. One 90 kgs sack of dura was between 45,000 – 60,000 dinnar now it is 60,000 dinnar

 

  1. Koch was attacked on 23rd September 1998, three cattle camps were raided and 9,500 heads of cattle were taken. Many bulls, cows, goats were killed indiscriminately for food during the attacks. It was reported that in Jagei during the second attack 95 bulls were slaughtered for food by the attacker.
  2.  

  3. Also there were reports that the area south of Leer was affected most by the flooding and that in the villages the children are malnourished.
  4.  

  5. Concerning the Lou and Gawaar reconciliation meeting which was supposed to be held by the end of October 1998 was not possible due to the following realities:

 

    1. There is no OLS flight to either Waat in Lou area or Ayod in Gawaar area
    2.  

    3. The areas is flooded. The Movement of the people is very difficult.