Bahr el Ghazal Field Report
Nuer-Dinka Peace Process
12 September - 1 October 1998
This report covers the period commencing 12th September to 1st October, 1998. The purpose of the visit among other issues was to brief officially the civil authorities, chiefs, and community leaders of Bhar El Gazal in respect to the Dinka-Nuer conference scheduled for 31st January, 1999 in Tonj County and to discuss in details issues here below listed:-
1. Investigate possibility of inclusion of security personnel on the ground committee.
2. Agree on the possible location of the conference.
3. Assess in details what local community can contribute for the conference and what it can not.
4. What things are seriously needed externally for the conference.
5. Assess the water situation, and if not, identify possible locations where bore wells can be drilled, and the number of wells that can be sufficient to supply participants of the conference.
6. Identify the people who can start work on the consultation of the conference centre.
7. Determine how long will the construction take to finish.
8. Identify youth and women groups who will help during the conference.
9. Discuss with the local authority what they should contribute (e.g. manpower for the construction, security and meat).
10. Number of chiefs to be invited from both SPLM/A and UDSF areas.
11. Local authorities from each side.
13. Church Leaders.
14. Church Leaders from other parts of Southern Sudan.
15. Youth and women groups.
16. Indigenous NGOs.
My journey to Loki, Northern Kenya was made possible by World Food Programme (WFP) which generously offered me a seat on one of its charted planes on 12/9/98. My other trips to South Sudan was made possible by Unicef/OLS, and in particular Ted Chaiban, the deputy chief of operations, Unicef/OLS, Nairobi. While in Loki, the Unicef/OLS camp manager and his staff generously assisted me including use of their camp facilities in Loki.
Without this assistance, my mission to South Sudan would have been impossible and I am grateful. Also I would like to thank Peter Motanya of WVI, Tonj County, Deputy Governor, Mr Deng Aluk, Executive Director Tonj County, Mr. Charles Kuol Deng. Ananatak Payam Administrator, Mr Bol Parek, Chiefs and elders of Jalwa Dinka section of Tonj County for co-operation, advice and encouragement without which the coming Dinka-Nuer conference would have been called-off. Lastly, but not least, I thank any colleague Mario Muor Muor for all the assistance, while I was in Thiet and also Hamish Young of Humanitarian Office Unicefl/OLS, who kindly paid my air ticket from Loki to Nairobi.
Initially my visit was intended to cover 4 weeks in the field (Southern Sudan) but for legitimate reasons I was only able to visit Tonj and Yirol counties. My second trip shall commence as soon as possible and will include counties of Gogrial, Twich, Rumbek and Abiei.
I arrived Loki on 12th September, 1998, but was not able to reach Thiet (Tonj County) until 18th September, 1998 due to reasons beyond my control. In Thiet I was received by Mario Muor Muor and both of us paid a visit to World Vision International (WVI) compound where we had a meeting with its field staff. We discussed mainly the role WVI is supposed to play towards the January, 1999, Dinka/Nuer Peace Conference. When I left Nairobi, for Thiet I was made to understand that WVI had agreed to drill water at the conference site, assist with food and its transport from Nairobi/Loki to the location of the conference and to facilitate my movements in the field. in the course of the meeting therein stated, Peter Motanya made us to understand that the idea of the Dinka/Nuer conference was briefly discussed in one of the staff meetings of WVI, but no specific details from Nairobi on what would be the role of the WVI in both Nairobi and in the field. In view of lack of clarity from Nairobi in the light of what is therein stated, Mr. Peter Motanya, WVI Thiet immediately sent a message to Nairobi for further details. At that material time, Mr Bruce Menser, was reported to be in the United States (USA), however, the person acting on his behalf authorised the field staff to facilitate our movements. This was complied with and Peter Motanya was with us throughout our mission from Thiet to Ngapagok and to the intended site of the conference.
While we were waiting for response from Nairobi, Mario Muor Muor requested the commissioner Tonj County, Mr. Andrew Kuac Mayol to have a meeting with us. In his reply dated 19/9/98, he directed us to meet with Mr. Charles Kuol Deng, the Executive Director, Tonj County since he (Commissioner) was on sick-leave. I shall return to our meeting with Charles Kuol Deng in the course of this report.
On 21st September, I travelled to Yirol County and held meetings with the Acting Commissioner Mr. Makur Nhial (the commissioner of Yirol had been absent from the County since April this year), Valintino Tokmac, SPLA Commander (Yirol), Mr Deng Thuc, SRRA, chiefs and youth. During our deliberations three important issues were apparent:- chief Makeny Kamic, a participant in June consultative workshop in Loki held several meetings with all concerned and the intention to have dialogue with Nuers in January, 1999 had already generated postivie responses from the population in Yirol County and adjacent Nuer of Ganyliel and Nyal. This is exemplified by the correspondances between SPLA commander in Yirol and UDSF Commander Stephen Gawar Manyok. There was a strong indication from the chiefs, local authorities that peace with the Nuer must be persued at all cost.
On 22nd September, 1998 I returned to Loki on way back to Thiet, which was pre-arranged to take place on 24th September, 1998. On 26th September, 1998, Mario Muor Muor, Peter Motanya and myself left Thiet for Ngapagok a distance of 35 miles to meet with Mr. Charles Kuol Deng the Executive Director Tonj County. Our meeting was short and covers the background of the January, 1999 Dinka-Nuer conference and the importance of such a conference under the auspices of the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC).
The background to the briefing covers the mandate given to NSCC by one of the resolutions passed in SPLM/church Dialogue in Yei County 1997, to peruse peace and reconciliation among the local communities that had been fighting each other since the split of 1991. Among such groups are prominently the Dinka and Nuers on the Eastern and Western side of the River Nile. In pursuance to the mandate, the NSCC held a consultative workshop in June this year, where chiefs from Yirol and Rumbek counties of Bhar El Gazal region attended the workshop, but chiefs from Tonj, Gogrial, Twich and Abiei failed to attend due to lack of adequate communication and transport. The Loki workshop issued a communique calling on both sides to cease hostilities and to hold a major conference suggested to take place in January, 1999 at Makuac in Tonj County. In the course of the briefing and subsequent deliberations with the Executive Director, it was agreed that Makuac would be unsuitable for holding the conference for the following:-
a) Security consideration as Makuac is situated almost right at the border.
b) Lack of population that would help in the construction of the conference facilities and;
c) Lack of good roads and airstrip.
In the light of the reasons thereof, it was agreed to hold the conference at XXXXX - 12 km from Ngapagok on the road to Makuac. On 27th September, 1998, Mario, the executive director, Peter Motanya of WVI, and myself visited XXXXX and met with the chiefs and elders. of Jalwa-Anan-Alak, Payam. We were received warmly and the meeting centred mostly on concrete proposals and responsibilities to be taken locally and externally to make the conference a success. Among the attendance in the meeting were chief Gum Mading, Bol Parek, Payam Administrator, Chief Mading Dior, Court member Maker Makuei and community elder chol Tong. On the 28th September, 1998 four of us already mentioned returned to Thiet to brief the Acting Governor Mr. Deng Aluk at Yith-Kuel, half-hour drive from Thiet.
The following proposals and responsibilities emerged in all the meetings we had with:-
(a) Executive Director Tonj County,
(b) WVI, Tonj County chiefs and elders, Jalwau community at XXXXX, Anan-Atak Payam Tonj County and Deputy/Acting Governor Bhar El Gazal Region.
Local responsibility and obligations.
a) Building of conference Hall for 500 - 1000 participants,
b) 150 Tukuls for accommodation of the participants,
d) 15 pit-latrines,
e) To improve Mader airstrip,
f) To improve the road between Ngapagok to XXXXX.
a) Non-food items (incentives for cutting grass, pools, etc),
b) 2 tracks, 4 vehicles, 4 bicycles for local transport,
c) 2 borewells,
d) Medical supplies,
e) Mattresses for important guests and church leaders,
f) Plastic sheets, blankets, and mosquito-nets for the chiefs and their participants.
The non-food items needed to help as incentives for the construction of the conference facilities are here below specified:-
ii) Washing soap,
vi) Used clothes(for men and women).
The NSCC was immediately requested to write to the Deputy Governor, who is currently the Acting Governor an official letter indicating the categories, the number of the participants and the duration of the conference. This will enable him to notify the commissioners and to request them to contribute bulls for the conference.
a) Construction at the conference site 1st October - 15th December, 1998.
b) Non-food items to reach the site of the conference 1st October to 21st October, 1998.
c) 30th October, 1998, one transport truck to reach the site of the conference.
d) Drilling of the borewells 15 November to 15th December, 1998.
e) Improvement of roads to the site 15th October to 15th November, 1998.
f) Improvement of airstrip 1st November - 31st November, 1998.
g) Transport of food items to the site 1st December to 20th December, 1998.
h) Transport of local participants (Bhar El Gazal and Western Upper Nile) as from 15th January to 25th January, 1999.
It appears that WVI field staff are not yet clear on matters agreed upon by their Headquarters in Nairobi with NSCC. However, it was agreed that the Water Programme personnel would visit the site of the conference to determine the level of the ground water. In case the hand-drilling equipment, which is on the ground with WVI turn out to be incapable for the purpose of drilling water at XXXXX, the WVI in Nairobi and NSCC should explore other drilling alternatives. It was suggested that MSF-Swiss, ICRC, and Medic could be contacted to assist. Currently ICRC has drilling equipments in Thiet and MSF-Swiss and Medic are expected to move their equipment to Tonj County very soon. It was also observed that WVI and NSCC should spell-out each others responsibilities i.e. which organization is responsible for what. The WVI in Tonj would like to be informed in writing in all matters connected with the conference particularly in matters pertaining to it's obligations.
Mario Muor Muor and Bol Parek
Mario is to be the field consultant responsible for the supervision of the construction of the conference facilities. All matters connected to the construction and material sent to the field should be addressed to him. His letter of appointment as a consultant as from August, 1998, should be formally written and sent to him. Bol Parek and Mario are to move immediately to the site of the conference as from the 1st October, 1998.
The security arrangements were discussed at length. . . .
… and it was suggested that the forces already at the border between the Bhar El Gazal Region and Western Upper Nile would be sufficient for the purpose of the security. Also police, SPLA personnel will be deployed at the conference site.
The responsibility to invite participants is entirely with the NSCC. Howevever, contacts should be mainteained with local authorities who might from time to time suggest names of participants from their end. As I understand from Loki workshop, each county in Bhar El Gazal would send 50 people to the conference. This include local authority, chiefs, youth and women (there are 6 counties intended to send delegates to the conference). It is my assumption that this applies to Western Upper Nile, which I understand has 6-7 localities to send their delegates to the conference.
1. The chiefs from Yirol and Rumbek counties are to assemble at Malual-cum in Pakam area where they are to be transported by trucks (lorries) through Makuac and to the site of the conference.
2. The chiefs from Gogrial, Twich and Abiei are to assemble at Luony-Aker and use the same means of transport to the site of the conference.
3. The chiefs from Lek (near Bentiu), and (Mankien) are to assemble at Majak-Lou, and provided with transport to the site of the conference.
4. The chiefs from Leer, Jagei, Nyuong and Ganyliel are to assemble at Makuac and provided with transport as in 1-3 to the site of the conference.
It is my impression so far that we are moving towards our desired goal. In all the areas visited to this point and contacts already established with all concerned, I am left with indication that reconciliation leading to a peaceful settlement of the conflict between the Dinka and Nuer west of the Nile is achievable. However, much work is needed. We are now in the month of October, but not yet sure of the funds and other huddles to be overcome such as water to be drilled at the conference site.
The New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC) is required to double its efforts to meet the datelines suggested thereof and to contact the top leadership of the SPLM/A in particular Dr. John Garang and Cdr Salva Kiir Mayardit.
It is important that Salva is constantly kept informed for the following reasons:-
a) Currently he is the commander of all the SPLA forces in Bhar El Gazal and the one to make all the security arrangements.
b) Salva comes from Bhar El Gazal and he should be involved as a participant and not as expectator.
c) Lastly, but not least he is the Deputy Chairman SPLM, General Chief of Staff SPLA and Commander Sector 3, Bhar El Gazal Region. All these three points make him the key player on the side of the SPLM/A in this conference.
Report prepared and presented by:-
(7th October, 1998)
Attached herewith is a list of medicines recommended to be procured before the conference. The medical doctor on the ground will be required to act as conference doctor for a period of 4 weeks.
PEACE CONFERENCE DRUGS ORDER
S/No. Name Qty Preparation
01 Aluminium Hydroxide 5,000 tablet
tablets - 500 mg
02 Buscopan tablets 8,000 tablets
03 Cimetidine tablets 8,000 tablets
04 Imodium capsules 8,000 capsules
05 Bisacodyl tablets 4,000 tablet
06 Anusol H-C ointment 2,000 tube
07 Digitoxin tablets 1,000 tablet
08 Frusemide tablets 3,000 tablets
09 Methyldopa tablets 3,000 tablet
10 Salbuyamol tablets 3,000 tablet
11 Aminophyline tablets 3,000 tablet
12 Aminophylline 100 ampoule
13 Chlorpheniramine maleate tablets 3,000 tablet
14 Adrenaline injection 50 ampoule
15 Diazepan tablets 1,000 tablet
16 Dramamine tablets 1,000 tablet
17 Paracetamol tablets 8,000 tablet
18 Benzylpenicillin sodium 2,000 vial
600 mg inj
19 Procaine Penicillin injection 2,000 vial
injection 4 ml
20 Amoxycillin capsules 10,000 capsule
21 Doxycycline capsules 10,000 capsule
22 Erythromycin capsules 10,000 capsule
23 Chloramphemicol capsules 10,000 capsule
24 Septrin tablet 10,000 capsule
25 Rifampicin capsules 10,000 capsule
26 Metronidazole tablet 10,000 tablets
27 Tinidazadole tablet 5,000 tablet
28 Nitrofurantoin tablet 5,000 tablet
29 Griseofulvin tablets 5,000 tablet
30 Chloroquine tablets 10,000 tablet
31 Mebendazole tablets 5,000 tablet
32 Niclosamide tablet 5,000 tablet
33 Ferrous sulphate tablet 5,000 tablet
34 Ibuprofen tablet 5,000 tablet
35 Tetracycline eye ointment 1,000 tube
36 Whitefield ointment 1,000 tube
37 Gauze roll 50 roll
38 Cotton wool 50 roll
39 Bandages 500 roll
40 Plaster 50 roll
41 Kidney dish 6 piece
42 Tray 6 piece
43 Savlon 10 Jerrycan
44 Iodine 10 Bottle
45 Scissor 4 Piece
46 Artery forceps 4 Piece
47 Dissecting forceps 4 Piece
48 Sponge forceps 4 Piece
49 Catheter size 20 Piece
50 Septrin syrup 100 Bottle
51 Ampicillin syrup 100 Bottle
52 Chloroquine syrup 100 Bottle
53 Paracetamol syrup 100 Bottle
54 Actifed syrup 100 Bottle
55 Metronodazole syrup 100 Bottle
56 Vermox syrup 100 Bottle
57 Syringes 5ml 5,000 Piece
19 gms 5,000 Piece
59 Gloves 1,000 Piece
Size - 8
Dr. Achol Marial
CMOH, TONJ COUNTY