'Nuers of Ethiopia'




By Bachak D. Miguel

First and foremost I would like to send my deepest and sincerest condolences to everyone( Ethiopians and South Sudanese) who lost their loved ones during these rampages that have befallen the people of Gambella right from the onset of this year up to date.

We all know, it’s not unusual for these unfortunate events to take place in the region. The only thing unique about these consecutive deaths is the brutal murder of Ethiopian workers by refugee in Jewi refugee camp and maybe the number of people that lost their lives during the raid by murle tribesmen from South Sudan. The latter, eventually, got international media’s attention.

Following a post that I came across that was shared on Facebook about five “Ethiopian nuers” that were murdered in Gambella town by highlanders as a revenge to what happened in Jewi refugee camp recently, I am compelled to write this in order to shed light on a few things that the writer( a Nuer) failed to acknowledge in his work.

In the article “highlanders killed 5 Nuer Ethiopians in Gambella town”, the writer tries to blame the highlanders for the murder of five Nuers that he claims to be Ethiopians. The Nuers are killed in revenge to Jewi brutal killing of eight highlanders by Nuer refugees.

Sometime it’s important to tell the fact the way it appears. The “Nuers of Ethiopia” and Nuers of South Sudan issue is a confusing one. Simply, because the hosts themselves do not let this fact out of their mouth unless or otherwise they are fighting among themselves over something or in a case that involve deaths like what happened in Jewi refugee camp.

This matter could have been dealt and do away with long ago by the Ethiopian government(EPRDF) were it not for the fact that the government is more interested in the land rather than inhabitants. The Nuers have been causing problems for years now mainly to the Anywaa(Anuaks)people of Gambella. And whenever a fight erupted between Anywaa and Nuers in areas like Gambella town or Itang, their fellow people in the refugee camps in either Pinyudo or Dimma camps tend to support and join the fight.

This makes it very hard to differentiate between Nuers as to who is from where. As far as I know, Nuers don’t care which part of the world they belong. As long as they have their people in one place, all of them want to be considered as part of that area too just because of the general name, NUER. And that’s one aspect that makes their population grow at the fastest rate in every place they go to.

That’s not all. Nuers tend to be very secretive and protective when it comes to something that benefits their community. It’s not strange that they do almost everything together. I personally do not believe in the differences between these people when it comes to the international boundaries. They have minimal respect for the international boundaries and non at all for local ones. And that’s why there’s problem where ever Nuers set foot on.

Looking at the problems that are happening in South Sudan and Ethiopia, Gamblella region, one can tell who is the main cause for lack of peace between communities in these particular areas.

I am sure that all those people residing in the refugee camps across Gambella are not only South Sudanese Nuers. They are mixed up with those who claim to be Ethiopians. The same case applies to South Sudan. There are a huge number of Nuers who work with the Government of South Sudan( GoSS) as citizens of South Sudan but they were former employees of Gambella regional state government as Ethiopia citizens. Some members of the Nuer community whom I know to be Ethiopians go from western countries all the way to Pagak( SPLA-IO base in Gambella)to offer support in form of donation of non food items to their fellow Nuers who are fighting SPLA.

We have many youth who join SPLA-IO as fighters and movement officials but are citizens of Gambella by birth. In fact, some officials used to work for the Gambella regional state government. I do not quite comprehend the implication beneath the complaint of “Ethiopian citizens” paying for a crime committed by refugees.

All these mess would not have occurred if residents of Gambella are aware of the differences, I suppose. We have learnt that even the current governor of Gambella regional state Mr. Tut is a South Sudanese. But, this truth is buried because of the benefits of Nuers tribe in general.

The influx of Nuer refugee in to Gambella region has led to closure of issuance of regional Identification cards. This is one of the reasons that contradict with what the writer is saying. The government would not have gone that far suppose the Nuers in the government stand with the government and put measures in place that makes it easy to identify who is from where. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The recent fight between Anywaa and Nuers that started over disputed ownership of piece of land between two citizens featured South Sudanese white army members. That is why it reached to a point where hand grenades are involved as well as breaking in to Gambella correctional facility by some Nuer men to kill Anywaa prisoners.

That’s not all, the South Sudanese flag was erected on Ethiopian soil as indication that this fight is much more than usual ones that we all know. The killing of highlanders in the camp is not by accident. It’s part of the plan of Gambella becoming part of the Republic of South Sudan . We are not too deaf to hear the song that was sang by Nuers that they are going to chase Anywaa out of Gambella all the way to pochalla(South Sudan). That they are going to finish the Anywaa because the Nuers out numbered the population of Anywaa by far. That they are going to make Gambella one of their states.

The pioneer and designers of this unrealistic plan come from both Ethiopia and South Sudan. In fact, the governor of Gambella, Gatluak Tut was part of the meeting that was held in Nairobi, Kenya about this matter. Maybe the main objective behind the agenda of South Sudanese Nuers and Ethiopian Nuers coming out now is because the highlanders reacted in away Nuers never expected. I am not sure the writer who can not even spell right the name of the refugee camp “Jewi” is a real son of Gambella.

The Ethiopian government should consider all these events as threat and act accordingly. Because, if these people are not stopped now, it will be too late in the future. Many Nuers of South Sudan have used Ethiopian resources like free education and every other opportunity that they could come by. Now, the same people are planning to go against the people of Ethiopia.
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