Nimule, 2 May 2019. Somewhere in the suburb of Motoyo, southeast of Nimule, Pageri County, Torit State, Republic of South Sudan, there is a premise of an organization called Far Reaching Ministries (FRM). The premise of about ten acres is home very grandiose houses -- used as offices, training facilities, guesthouse, etc.
FRM has been running its activities in South Sudan for about a decade, under the leadership of its founder Wes Bentley (a former USA marine officer) and his wife Vicky Bentley. Other senior staff members of FRM are organization are pastor Alahai Michail (Project Director) and Lino Mayor.
As far as FRM (frmusa.org) is concerned, its core mission is "winning the African continent for Christ". In the case of South Sudan, its mission is winning South Sudan for Christ. However, in more practical terms, the day-to-day works involve training of chaplains, women in self-reliance, organizing seminars and workshops, and sometimes the distribution of handouts to disadvantaged children, sponsorship for local missionaries, etc. The good works of "selfless-missionaries" who left America to serve in the black continent, is perhaps what gives FRM its saintly public face. And that is why a good part of the populace of Nimule would see FRM as an angel in disguise!
However, also to a good part of the populace of Nimule and beyond, FRM is not God-sent angel. If anything, it is Satan's angel. And this strong opinion is not without good reasons. There are several reasons, but two of them stand out: 1) Several indigenous people of Nimule have accused FRM of forcefully grabbing their ancestral plots. 2) Many people see the relationship between FRM and South Sudan army with suspicions -- and they have good reasons. FRM hosts many of the senior generals of the South Sudan army when they come to Nimule. Indeed, FRM hosted president Salva Kiir, the last time he came to Nimule. FRM also supports the army with logistics, sometimes.
Besides the apparent coziness of relationship between FRM and South Sudan's army, which makes several people look at FRM with suspicion, there seems to be a very dark side of FRM which many people wouldn't even like to talk about it - because of fear or disbelief! Though the inner workings of FRM are engulfed in secrecy, leaks from the organization seem to reveal horrible stories about FRM.
According to some reliable sources, FRM is anything but Christ's-passion inspired organization. If anything, it is "private army company", founded by a "soldier of fortune" camouflaged in the name of Christianity. Wes Bentley's experience in the US marine and several years in dealing with warlords in Sudan (in the 1990s), then in South Sudan (from 2000s -- till present) have given him the right skills to found an NGO, when taken on face value, looks like a humanitarian agent -- for social transformation for good. However underneath saintly face -- there is the devil in details.
Apparently, many of the employees of FRM are ignorant about the dark dealings within FRM. Only senior staff members like Alahai and Lino know the dark side of FRM. Quite recently, FRM has hosted General Johnson Juma Okot a number of times. According to reliable sources, during his visits to Nimule, Gen Okot held a couple of closed-door meetings, attended by Pastor Alahai Michail, Lino Mayor at and some Dinka community members. Though the details of what transpired in the meetings remained secret, leaks from the meetings, say both meetings broke up -- because the majority of the attendants would not accept Gen Okot agenda to mobilize some army force to go and attack SPLA-IO cantonment site in Aswa.
According to another informant, though the meeting failed, Gen. Okot went ahead order the deployment of at least 3000 soldiers, brought from either Juba or nearby garrisons.
While warlords, the generals of the South Sudan army continue to play their activities -- in Nimule, FRM remains a very good agent in empowering those generals. And there can be no better place than FRM's grandiose premise, for planning military tactics, strategies, business deals, etc. And to the unsuspecting outsiders, the activities within will continue to look like workshops, seminars to train the fishermen to win soul for Christ. Unfortunately, it is not possible to bring the activities within FRM's well-fenced premise to public scrutiny. Well, not until the current government which is a great beneficiary of FRM, is changed!
Source with full knowledge about the daily operation of FRM pointed out that mount Gardon, owned by native clans of Nimule would have also been sold to FAR to extend its operational work, and if need there is a deal and if Mount Gardon is sold to FRM the beneficiaries should have been the Madi native rather than the government.
Justin S. Kwaje & Andrew Olweny