Gambella Nilotes United Movement/Army
4th February 2016, Gambella
Gambella Nilotes United Movement (GNUM) strongly condemns the ongoing ethnic violence and killings in the Gambella region of Ethiopia between the indigenous Anuaks and the joint armed forces of the SPLA-IO Nuers of South Sudanese rebels/refugees led by Dr. Riek Machar (Nuer) and Thwat Pal (Nuer) of Ethiopian Patriotic opposition movement. It is empirically evidenced that the ongoing ethnic violence is the outcome of the TPLF/EPRDF government’s incitement plans and policy, to carry out ethnic cleansing conflict and genocide killings as means to eliminate the indigenous Anuaks in the Gambella region of western Ethiopia to facilitate the systematic settlements of the TPLF members from the Northern Ethiopia of Tigray region.
Our previous press releases highlighted that the impetus to the spreading South Sudanese refugees’ camps in the Gambella region, especially in the Anuaks Zone, was to arm the Nuer refugees to carry out killings against the local communities at excuse of ethnic violence, thereby to evacuate their ancestral land and allow easy access for TPLF members from the northern part of the country, to occupy the land in Gambella.
The ongoing ethnic killing against the Anuaks is quite severe and it should receive due attention from the international community and all concerned bodies in which the perpetrators including the Nuer leaders and the Ethiopian EPRDF/TPLF government leaders should be made accountable for the lost of peaceful citizens.
Since December/2015 a group of armed Nuer refugees attacked Ponywaa village of Itang district killing 3 men and injured 2 men. On 28th January 2016 the same armed South Sudanese refugees entered into the college and threw a bomb to the Anuaks students killed one and injured three college students. On 29th January 2016 the same group went into Gambella prison to release their prisoners and killed 8 Anuaks prisoners and injured 4 others. On the same date the Western Bank in Chengkwar village in the Gambella town was looted and building was destroyed and killed the staff. The killing continued to other minority Opuo tribe whereby all their properties burnt down and people were displaced by Nuer armed forces. On top of this the Anuaks villages located downstream of Baro (Openo) including Edeni, Cham, Nyikwalli and Enyoon villages of Jikaw district were forced to evacuate by the same Nuer armed groups in Jikaw districts and the houses were burnt down into ashes. Many Anuaks have been killed in various localities in the Gambella town and its vicinity. The killing is still intensifying and so far hundreds of Anuaks have been killed and 13 villages in the Itang district alone have been evacuated and burnt to ashes. In every single day at least 10 reported to die in Gambella.
All these killings and destruction of properties happened in the present of the Ethiopian National Defence Force and the Federal Police throughout the region, denying the rights and security of the indigenous Anuaks citizens from such savage killings. SPLA-IO opposition movement against the South Sudanese government has been endorsed and supported by the TPLF government of Ethiopia. What surprises us is the involvement of Thwat Pal, the former Gambella governor and now is one of Ethiopian opposition leaders, who has enjoyed support from the south Sudanese government, (the only Ethiopian opposition leader who have received full support from the South Sudanese government including millions of dollars that was announced on the public media) to thwart the efforts of the SPLA-IO of Dr. Reik Machar from Ethiopia is now an ally to Dr. Riek Machar.
The two Nuer leaders representing both countries – Ethiopia and South Sudan governments, were enemies. Thwat received substantial amount of millions of dollars donation from South Sudan government to fight against the Dr. Riek who was operating from Ethiopia. What make them to cluster to join their armed Nuers forces against the Anuaks of Gambella is a point scrutiny that raises many question including the positions of Ethiopian and South Sudanese governments in this war, the historical visit of Omar Albashir in the Gambella region during the celebration of the Ethiopian nations on December 9th 2015, and the erection of the SPLA-IO flags by Nuers in the Gambella town during the fight, in areas called Arat kilo, Omeninga, Changkwar, Lare town and the Gambella prison has stunned many people in the region.
Of course, Thwat Pal, the former Gambella governor during the Derge military of Mengistu regime, his political ambition has basically been on racial Nuer Agenda gears to territorial expansion and occupation by eliminating the neighbouring minority tribes. He had caused many Anuaks massacres in Pinyudo, Pokwo, Itang and various areas in the Gambella region during his administration. When the military regime was overthrown by present EPRDF/TPLF government, Thwat acquired ammunitions from Eretria and used them against the Anuaks in 2000 through 2002 in which more than 16 Anuaks villages were burnt down to ashes, killing hundreds of Anuaks in Itang, Jor and Jikaw districts. The Eretria government after realizing this unlawful killing against the Anuaks, expelled Thwat from Eriteria, and Thwat moved to Kenya and United States and continued to promote his Nuer’s ambition on the ground.
South Sudanese government supported Thwat movement with expectation to fight Dr. Riek forces which was not materialized. It could be surprising to see the two clustered together at this movement of war against the Anuaks of Ethiopia. The secret is unfolded by erecting the SPLA-IO flag in Gambella with many other evidence, sending clear messages that the two Nuer leaders converged to form an Independent Nuer State (INS) which will include the liberated Nuers states in South Sudan and extends to the Gambella region without Anuaks in their minds.
The TPLF government has been complicit with the Anuaks killings and conspired on the Anuaks extinction with envy for their resources including petroleum, gold, etc, denying their sovereign rights and security as citizens of Ethiopia. The chronological Anuaks genocides in Ethiopia by the TPLF government contribute to this conspiracy theory. The elimination of the Anuaks from their land at this point makes a common ground for both SPLA-IO and the TPLF government.
At the end of the day though once Anuaks are eliminated, Nuer will be the final looser as the TPLF government will launch its might and chase away Nuers from Gambella region since they don’t have strong historical background to claim Gambella. This political calculation is to consolidate the TPLF settlement and occupation in Gambella which will be dominated by the Tigrians from the North. In this move Gambella will be the second Tigray region eventually. Nuers being so naive to understand the evil will eventually regret and their shallow historical background in the Gambella region will not give them leverage or legitimacy to resist the TPLF settlement.
The ongoing bloody ethnic violence therefore, is on the secret deal between the TPLF government and the SPLA-IO forces. Sudan of Omar Bashir has also hand in it. The Anuaks are left alone without government support and yet the TPLF soldiers engage in disarming Anuaks wherever they are found with guns they grab from the Nuers. The TPLF government role is preparing Anuaks unarmed and making them helpless in the face of heavily armed Nuer forces. The Ethiopian defence force and the federal police only provide security for the highlanders specially the Tigrains people in the region.
Gatluak Tut (Nuer) who is South Sudanese by nationality was posted by the TPLF government to facilitate such Anuak massive killings. Surprisingly, his biological brother Pal Tut (Sudanese) from the SPLA-IO side is commanding this war of ethnic violence against the Anuaks in Gambella. This would explain how the Ethiopian EPRDF/TPLF government conspires on the ongoing Anuaks genocide killings in the Gambella region. What is happening at the ground is not by accident but it is the TPLF/EPRDF government’s deliberate plan to allow foreigners like Governor Gatluak Tut orchestrate the killings of the indigenous Anuaks in the region.
The Nairobi meeting of January/2016 which was attended by the governor Gatluak Tut, Thwat Pal, Dr. Riek Machar, Bichok Won, and Ambassador Kong Tut has provided master minded toward the implementation of the ethnic violence in Gambella. Governor Gatluak Tut in his protocol as regional governor could not attend such informal Nuers meeting outside Ethiopia without the endorsement of the TPLF government.
According to our observation the TPLF dominated Ethiopian government avail any security for the Anuaks in the face of heavily armed bloody ethnic war waged by the SPLA-IO forces. In protection to the land Anuaks will sacrifice heavily lost if they confront the enemy unless they take refuge in the neighbouring countries for safety. The worse is yet to come as what they called the white army and all the SPLA-IO forces are heading to Gambella.
We therefore, call upon the US government, UK government, United Nations, European Union, Diplomats Churches, and all other humanitarian organizations, to closely monitor the looming genocide of the indigenous Anuaks and consider swift action to safe lives in the Gambella region of Ethiopia.
We also call upon the UN, humanitarian organizations and other concerned multilateral International organizations to monitor the insecurity of the Ethiopian refugees particularly our refugees from Gambella in South Sudan and consider options of relocation of these refugees for safety; and in accord with the international law of which the South Sudanese has signed under the UN convention and protocols, we call for accountability for the people expedited to Ethiopia by the South Sudanese government and demand the release of these prisoners from Ethiopia.
Finally, we call upon the TPLF/EPRDF government to stop killing of the indigenous Nilotes; to release our prisoners kept in various prisons in the country under inhumanly conditions; to restore our communal land rights and ownership in accord with the UN provisions; to respect our territorial integrity to stop government extinction measures.
In conclusion the Gambella Nilotes United Movement/Army (GNUM/A) will continue its struggle for all people of Gambella and all the South western Nilotes of Ethiopia to ensure freedom, justice, security and prosperity are brought to our people in their lands.
“Unite We Must, to Fight for the Rights and Justice of Indigenous of South Western Nilotic-Omotic Peoples of Ethiopia”
“Freedom and Justice for All the Oppressed Nilotes of Gambella”