A NUER BOY FROM NYANGORE: EULOGY FOR DANIEL WUOR JOAK
By Margaret Akulia
The journey to Malakal took us about five hours and we arrived in the evening, probably at 6 pm GMT. On arrival at Malakal Station, the driver and his assistant told me to get out of the lorry with the rest of the passengers who were mainly coming from Nasir and Ulang towns respectively. I recognized some of the passengers especially the ones from Ulang but I did not want to bother following them or ask them where they were going. I pretended like I knew Malakal town anyway in order not to attract attention to myself. I kept going from street to street until sunset and then went and sat in one of the open restaurants in Malakal town that was owned by an Arab from Northern Sudan. This was one of the rich Arab merchants who migrated to Southern Sudan as traders several years back and opened his own restaurant in Malakal town. I ordered myself a cup of tea and waited a little before making another order by sipping it slowly.
I glanced around the open restaurant and spotted a couple of people including a waiter bearing Shilluk tribal marks. He noticed me as he served a customer. Then I made another order and the second time around, I ordered Egyptian beans with two pieces of sliced bread. The beans are traditionally known as “pool el misri” in Arabicand they are a staple food in the two Sudans.
After I had completed my meal, the Shilluk waiter I had spotted earlier approached me and asked me politely in Creole Arabic.
“Do you know anybody in Malakal?”
I said No.
“Do you have any friend or relative in town?”
I again said No.
“My name is Obach” the waiter volunteered, extending a hand.
I greeted him and introduced myself.
Obach had already determined that I was a stranger in town because I was carrying a small bag that contained my belongings. The clothes I wore were also very dusty from the lorry ride on the dusty Ulang-Malakal road.
That time, I did not even know the direction of the River Nile where I could take a bath that evening or a River Barge to Juba so I was relieved to encounter a very friendly and kind Shilluk man. I was just stranded and I did not know what to do next.
Sensing my anxiety, Obach told me not to leave the restaurant before he finished his duty so I waited for him patiently until very late in the evening.It was probably around 10.00pm when the restaurant was eventually closed and Obach took me to his uncle's house where he lived. Obach had come to Malakal from one of the smallest Shilluk villages located far away from Malakal town with the intention of working and earning some money for his schooling because his parents were too poor to cater for his needs.
After the restaurant closed for the night, we left and walked on foot to Luakat, one of the residential quarters inhabited mostly by people from the Shilluk tribe. After a two kilometer walk in the darkness, we arrived at Obach's uncle's home. The entire family was still awake and some of the elders were conversing among themselves or narrating stories. As it was still summer time, a number of children were sleeping nearby in open spaces on sleeping mats and beds. Because of the hot summer weather of Malakal, many people there like to sleep outside but inside their compounds. They did this to enjoy the fresh air as it was too hot to sleep inside the houses during that time. Everyone went quiet when they saw me and Obach. They started wondering about the young Nuer man Obach had brought to their home. Some were probably suspicious that this stranger could be a petty thief.
I understand their fear because they did not know me and there were no Nuer dwellers in Luakat, the area where they were. That time, most family members did not understand the Nuer language including Obach but I could speak Arabic so we used Arabic to communicate since the family spoke Arabic. The owner of the house was a police man who used to interact with some Nuer colleagues at his place of work so he was not surprised to meet a Nuer man. However, his two wives, children and the rest of the members of the family were.
Obach's uncle the policeman asked me the same question Obach had asked me at the restaurant. He asked me if I knew anybody in town and I said no. He also asked me if I was coming to live in Malakal town or planned to proceed to Khartoum where most of the Nuer young men used to travel during the dry season to look for menial jobs in building construction. I said I intended to travel to Juba where my cousin was residing.
Obach shared a room with two other boys so they provided me with a sleeping mat in the same room. I took the bed sheet I had inside my bag and used it for covering myself in case it became cold. Although it was warm inside the room where we would sleep, I decided to have a bed sheet at hand in case I needed it. There were already people who had made their beds inside the family compound but outside because they preferred that. We soon fell asleep and the following morning, after we had tea, I went with Obach to his work place where I familiarized myself with some shopping areas in the centre of Malakal. I walked around and also discovered Malakal Port where several people were taking bath in the river and river barges from the towns of Kosti or Juba docked before embarking on journeys to their final destinations.
I spent several days in Obach’s uncle’s house before the barge heading to Juba arrived in Malakal Port. Before the barge arrived from Kosti, I was informed ahead of time by Obach's uncle to prepare myself for the journey on the scheduled date. I proceeded to wash my clothes and after they dried, I packed them and my other belongings very neatly inside the bag I had traveled with. When the barge arrived from Kosti and docked at Malakal Port, Obach and his dear uncle escorted me to the port straightaway. On arrival at the port, Obach’s uncle went to the manager of the barge directly and asked him to let me travel to Juba in their barge without paying the fare. The manager agreed at once because Obach's uncle had his police uniform on. In fact, before Obach’s uncle intervened I was worried as I thought I was going to be asked to pay money I did not have. Then the three of us went to the market and bought a few food items that were hardly enough to last me the 8 day journey to Juba by barge. We returned to the Port and said farewell to each other then I entered the barge heading to Juba.
I was finally on my way to Juba and so thankful for the hospitality Obach and his uncle’s family accorded me while at their home. This was my first time ever to interact with the Shilluk community and the impressive hospitality I received was the same treatment a guest would get from my own Nuer tribe. I regret the fact that when I returned to Malakal in 1979, for a brief visit on my way to Ulang, I never met Obach again and I could not even trace his uncle's house at Luakat either to thank them again for their warm reception of me.
It was during the second week of June 1978 in the morning hours when I set off on my journey to Juba by barge. I was alone and this was also my first time to travel for a long distance on a barge that could take several days to reach its destination. I had previously used a barge from Ulang to Nasir once that took only a few hours to reach my destination but the journey to Juba would be 8 days.As I settled inside the barge, I met a certain Nuer soldier from Lou Nuer by the name Weituor and his newly wedded wife Nyayual. At the time of writing this book, it had been nearly forty years and I still remembered only their first names.
I happened to get a vacant space near them where I put my sleeping mat and a small bag with my belongings inside. The barge was so congested that most of the passengers hardly got vacant spaces to put their baggage or sleeping materials. It was almost a real fight among the commuters who got in first inside the barge and located his or her baggage in a secure environment. Some compartments in the barge were unhygienic, dirty and wet and somebody could easily get sick sitting in them.
After getting settled in a secure spot in the barge, I was happy that I got shelter but worried that I did not have cooking utensils or charcoal to prepare meals from my meager foodstuff. At the same time, I was afraid to bother anyone to lend me cooking utensils. I really began to think critically about taking an adventurous journey that was not properly planned in the first place. I did not ask anybody who had ever traveled by river barge for a long distance before for a piece of advice. I had just guessed what would happen during the journey which was a poor way to go on a lengthy trip. I sat quietly as the barge continued on the journey to Juba only guessing what to do for the rest of a journey I had never tried before. It was a terrible and confusing situation for me but I left everything in God’s hands!
Nyayual and her husband Weituor the couple I met after I boarded the barge to Juba from Malakal were inquisitive and they wanted to know more about me because they kept staring at me from time to time. I was a bit shy and not ready to respond to their inquisitive stares so I avoided their gazes. Finally, Weitur couldn't stand it anymore so he started the conversation by asking me where I was heading to. I told him that I was traveling to Juba. Nyayual intervened by asking me if I had some relatives in Juba. I said yes. After a few minutes both posed the same question again.
“Who are you traveling with?”
I said I was alone. Then we continued talking while Nyayual prepared their breakfast. When she finished cooking they invited me to eat with them which I did. After a while I told Nyayual that since you have cooking utensils why can't I give you my food items then you can make meals for us. She agreed and even Weituor commented about why his newly wedded wife should cook for both of us.
“You cannot cook while my wife is around”.
Weituor was aware of the Nuer cultural norm to allocate chores according to gender and in Nuer culture a man is not expected to prepare food in the presence of another man who had his wife around. Culturally, Weituor would have been ashamed to let me cook while his wife was with us. From there we became good friends and after spending days in the barge, we arrived in Bor town. New passengers traveling to Juba entered the barge then we were on our way again to Juba. The journey to Juba would take two more days before our arrival.
As we set sail from Bor, a certain lady from Ulang my hometown recognized me. She was traveling with her husband to Juba and they were heading to the same destination I was going to. This was Nyabiel Kuon Buoy with her husband Gatkuoth better known as Gatkuoth Nyaminyded Dup.
Gatkuoth was an ex-Anyanya soldier who had been absorbed into the Sudan Armed Force (SAF) at the rank of Sergeant Major. He was stationed at the army garrison at Malual Achot, which was located south of Bor town. Nyabiel asked me if I was the son of Jock (Joak) Kong and I said yes. She asked me if I was going to Juba where my cousin John Jock Bol and John Wal Chol were and I also said yes.
“Oh, we are also going to the same place”, she said.
“We should go together once we arrive in Juba”, she continued.
They asked me again where I was sleeping in the barge as they had inquired when they first spotted me. I told them that I was sleeping in the next compartment behind. I was so happy to get somebody who would take me to where I was going in Juba. This was because Weituor and his wife Nyayual the couple I met when I first boarded the Juba bound barge in Malakal did not know the people I was going to in Juba. They had suggested to me that when we arrived in Juba, they could take me to the Nuer church at Mobil Station which was opposite Juba Cathedral where I could be introduced to the faithful during the Sunday service to see if any of them knew where my relatives live in Juba.
When we arrived in Juba in the evening hours, the family of Gatkuoth came to where we were with Weituor and his wife Nyayual to inform me about the arrival of the barge at Juba Port. Then we all disembarked from the barge and I thanked the family of Weituor for the support they had rendered to me while in the barge on our journey to Juba. I promised to look for them after I arrive to my last destination. It would be about a month before I met Weituor again at the Presbyterian Church where the Nuer community prayed every Sunday. I took them to where I was staying and we became good friends until they were later transferred from Juba to another place in Southern Sudan.
The journey from Malakal to Juba took us nearly nine days. Weituor and Nyayual both come from Akobo District in Lou Nuerland. On our arrival at Juba Port, Nyabiel, Gatkuoth and I took a taxi to Juba Senior Rest House where Nyabiel's cousin John Wal Chol and my cousin John Jock Bol worked and lived. When we arrived at the Senior Rest House, both John Wal and John Jock were very happy to see us. They hadn’t seen us in a long time. Our journey to Juba was so boring and tiresome because we spent several days on the way. It didn’t help that the barge had stopovers in different stations along the way. Moreover our meagre food was running out and we had no more money to buy more food so we became extremely worried.
Those are the words of Daniel Wuor Joak from a segment in his epic life story “TRUTH MUST BE TOLD”. Full of intriguing real life situations that read like a Hollywood Blockbuster, Daniel’s life story is one of the most riveting true life stories I have ever come across, beginning in Nuerland in 1962, the year Daniel was born and ending with Daniel’s passing of the baton in Oslo, Norway on Friday, April 20, 2018. The above segment speaks volumes about a 16 year old who was destined to be a major contributor not only to South Sudan but the rest of Africa and the world at large. Venturing outside Nuerland into a world that had at least 63 other Southern Sudanese tribes was only the beginning of a journey that would include a full and clear understanding of his fatherJohn (Jock) Joak Koang Deng’s dream for an independent South Sudan that holds everyone from all the tribes in the highest esteem. Daniel was determined not to be the one that drops the baton his father passed to him and others so he ran an unfaltering race and participated fully in ensuring that South Sudan attained independence on July 9, 2011.
“My father joined the South Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM) better known as the Anyanya Movement in 1963, a year after I was born. A famed separatist who wanted Southern Sudan to separate from Northern Sudan, he became an active participant when the war reached Greater Upper Nile where I was born” Daniel writes in a section of “TRUTH MUST BE TOLD” before expanding elsewhere.
“Like most of his colleagues who joined the Anyanya war of liberation in the 1960s, my father was very dedicated to freeing Southern Sudan from the bondage of Northern Sudan. While in the bush fighting for his convictions, he was known as Captain John”.
Daniel was fully involved in events leading up to the independence of South Sudan including being one of the pioneers of “TheNational Working Group for Civic Education in the New Sudan (NWG-CE)” which was tasked with disseminating the six protocols of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) from 2002 to 2004. The CPA was signed between the SPLM and the Government of Sudan to end the ongoing conflict in the country on January 9, 2005. In “TRUTH MUST BE TOLD” Daniel provides detailed accounts of events leading up to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and what transpired afterwards including but not limited to his days as a Member of Parliament in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA). Travelling extensively to the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya and even to Sudan’s national capital Khartoum on SPLM business, Daniel was very instrumental in setting the stage for an independent South Sudan before serving as State Minister of Education, Science and Technology in Upper Nile. An eerie prophecy Daniel made in relation to the current war in South Sudan came to pass when a people’s beautiful dream for their own beautiful country morphed into genocide against innocent children, women, elderly citizens and unarmed South Sudanese civilians from the Nuer tribe on December 15, 2013.
“An imminent war between the Dinka and Nuer will soon be fought where our people will return back to the same suffering they have just overcome after the signing of the CPA in 2005” Daniel had voiced to a friend, weeks before the genocide that is now being meted on all the tribes of South Sudan.
Remarks made at a function by a governor a few weeks before December 15, 2013 were what got Daniel very worried and led to his prophecy. He escaped from Malakal one day before the organized tribal extermination of his Nuer tribe in Juba on December 15, 2013. However, after his escape, he was relentless in trying to find a solution to the war that resulted from the genocide so that all the 64 tribes of South Sudan can enjoy the country he fought so hard for. The tribe based annihilation of a people in South Sudan that is comparable to the Holocaust that was allowed to occur during Nazi Germany has now engulfed the entire South Sudan. It may go down in history as the most horrific brutality of all times but there will be an end to it because like Daniel, other people are in the race to prevent South Sudan from being wiped off the face of the earth and they will not drop the baton!
“My father John (Jock) Joak Koang Dengwas born eight years after the great Nuer Prophet Guek Ngundeng was killed by the British colonial soldiers in 1927. He had guessed his age based on events that occurred during that time and his initiation and confirmation from childhood to manhood in 1951 at the age of 16” Daniel shared in another segment of “TRUTH MUST BE TOLD”. This invoked a future conversation between me and him about one of my ancestors named Rembi from the Yondu Kakwa clan in present day South Sudan who is reported to have been shipped to the very Canada I currently reside in as punishment for challenging colonialists and disturbing the colonial agenda.
Now that I am here, I am going to try and find where they brought him, I always joke laughing hard at the stories I heard about this stubborn ancestor of mine who is said to have spearheaded a rebellion in Eastern and Central Africa. Daniel even gave me the name of a book he recommended for beginning my search for great, great, great, great, great, great Grandpa Rembi and I will be reading that book from cover to cover. I have several of Rembi’s batons and I am not dropping any of them, I always laugh out loud when I recall stories about Rembi’s stubbornness which reminds me of my own. Daniel was a very stubborn and principled person too but good stubborn like mine. It is the stubbornness that includes fighting tooth and nail for everyone to be treated with kindness. I admired that stubbornness in Daniel, along with the humility he also possessed. Describing his life as a child growing up in Nuerland in “TRUTH MUST BE TOLD”, Daniel provides a window into the humble upbringing he got that made him one of the most compassionate, loyal, hard working and principled people I have crossed paths with on this impermanent earth.
“Some of my most vivid childhood recollections were the numerous times we slept in open places or in kraals without blankets or mosquito nets. Inside the kraals, young boys would sleep with calves. Many times, we would sleep or sit around a fire made with dried cow dung when the weather got cold especially during the rains. Dogs and youth acted as guards at night and they stayed alert in case a strange animal intruded and entered our kraals. The dogs were very sharp at night and they were able to detect wild and dangerous animals from a very far distance. They were always able to easily alert people by barking ahead of an animal’s intrusion or approach” Daniel writes. In “TRUTH MUST BE TOLD”, he chronicles a myriad of close calls but because his baton was predetermined by our most High God to be passed in Oslo, Norway on Friday, April 20, 2018 and not sooner, he survived all these brushes with death.
It was almost 11.30am and the sun was shining. The weather was generally clear and there was no cloud in the sky or waves in the river. I came down to the last deck where Mary, Nyayual and Nyakuony had congregated while preparing lunch for us. They had all the cooking utensils under fire using traditional home made stoves with charcoal. Nyayual was making kissera, a Sudanese local dish made of sorghum and wheat flour similar to pancakes normally eaten with a variety of stews. As Mary was preparing strews of kissera,Nyakuony and I sat on a protective steel surrounding the corridors of the barge to prevent people from falling into the river.
The steel was strong enough to sit on and hang hands on. We kept talking and laughing most of the time, narrating funny jokes and stories. Suddenly, the barge was about to capsize on the direction we were located in. Mary noticed the move of the barge but the rest of us did not feel it immediately.
“Oh, this barge was about to capsize” Mary said.
The three of us dismissed it. I even made a comment which I still remember. This big barge cannot capsize Mary. A minute later the barge almost capsized on our side which was also close to the shore. All the cooking utensils and other belongings that the three ladies possessed were taken in by huge waves of water that engulfed the last deck.
Everybody was confused, panicking and screaming. Then Nyakuony and I lost balance but she was lucky and rescued. Mary and Nyayual were able to rescue Nyakuony as I also struggled to hold her close to the two ladies who managed to get her inside the barge at last.Then I fell in the water and the barge got back upright while I was in the water struggling to save my life. The incident happened at a distance close to Shambee from Bor town. The good thing was that I knew how to swim but Nyakuony didn't so I thank God that she was rescued before falling into the River Nile where she might have surely drowned. I managed to get onto the shore where the tall grass known locally as “yek” or papyrus grew. It covered the entire area of about 30 kilometers from the dry land on both sides of the River Nile.
The barge disappeared and I was left in the papyrus with only crocodiles, hippos, deadly snakes and wild animals like elephants and buffaloes. I had nowhere to go because the area was full of water and papyrus. This was some distance from Lake Shambee which was very large indeed. It is probably the largest lake in South Sudan. Before the barge disappeared, many people saw me swimming and when I got to the papyrus. I started giving the spectators inside the barge a signal by shaking the tall papyrus grass. Everybody in the barge had seen me and knew that I was not yet dead but the Arab owner or the manager of the barge told everybody that I was dead and there was no need for the barge to be returned when the person was already gone. The family of Daniel Banguot suddenly started screaming loudly in the barge and he himself went directly to the manager of the barge along with some Southern Sudanese policemen and soldiers. They wore uniforms and they had guns so they began threatening the manager and his crew and ordered them to unconditionally return to the scene where the barge almost capsized immediately. The manager and his crew finally accepted to return to where I was left with some serious hesitations.
Upon the barge's arrival back to where I was, I was still standing on the papyrus as I had placed everything in God's hands. That time, I was fully aware that my death was imminent and I was just waiting for it. This was because the barge had spent over an hour away from where I was and I was no longer able to hear its sound. I held onto the papyrus until I heard the sound of the barge. When I saw it approaching me, I started shaking the papyrus as if there was a strong wind in the area. Some of the passengers spotted me in the area where I was and the barge eventually arrived at the scene. They found me still standing and immediately threw a rescue rope to me. After I tied the rope over my body and held part of it with my two hands, they started pulling me into the barge and managed to get me in safely. All the passengers inside the barge hurriedly congratulated me for my good luck. Others stared at me in utter disbelief because they couldn't believe that I was still alive after I was left in the animal infested River Nile for more than an hour. The passengers were convinced that either wild animals like crocodiles, hippopotamuses and poisonous snakes had killed me or I had drowned in the river but there I was alive and well.
Those are also the words of Daniel Wuor Joak from another segment in his epic life story “TRUTH MUST BE TOLD” which related to a fall down from a river barge Daniel was travelling in from Juba to Malakal. At the tender age of 17, he still had a lot of vitality and a long race to run before passing the baton. However, the segment spoke definitively to how determined Daniel was to finish the super special race he was assigned by the most High God he worshipped until his last breath.
Being a witness to horrendous punitive expeditions by Sudanese soldiers during the Anyanya war that his father actively participated in when Daniel was a child, attending boarding school at Ulang Primary School, standing up to school yard bullies, attending Gelachel Secondary School which was later renamed Sobat Secondary School and emerging as a leader chosen by the students at the school to be their Head Prefect would equip Daniel for a future life of virtuous service and clean-handed advocacy. That top notch advocacy would benefit not only South Sudan but Africa and the world as a whole. While on holidays from Sobat Secondary School, in February 1983, Daniel travelled to Khartoum for work and ran a Literacy Program there for troubled Nuer youth who made a total turn around and became very responsible adults as a result.
“During the first week of August 1985, Ojang Aba Dingmajok and I excitedly took an SAS Airlines from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya to the Norwegian capital city of Oslo” Daniel tells in his captivating life story “TRUTH MUST BE TOLD” of the day he landed in Norway as a young Sudanese refugee who would later become a dual citizen of Norway.
“We flew through Copenhagen, Denmark where we changed planes to a smaller one of the same SAS trademark after a short stopover. The journey took us about eleven hours altogether and this was our first time to visit a European country where everything looked completely strange to us. Finally, we landed at Fornebu International Airport at around 3:00pm and we were received by Mr. Ove Kristoffersen who later dropped us at Deichmans gate 4, in the heart of Oslo city” Daniel writes, as an Introduction to a life in Norway that would include a beautiful family with Rebecca and their four children as well as political activism with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). He was one of the biggest advocates for the people of Southern Sudan at the time and stayed consistent through to South Sudan’s independence and his last breath. By the time Daniel jumped onto the SPLM/A bandwagon, Anyanya II, the separatist movement he was most closely associated with and the SPLM/A had been unified under one leadership headed by Dr. John Garang and Southern Sudanese everywhere had rallied behind the SPLM/A. Daniel had been very concerned about the ongoing killings that had happened continuously between the two factions since 1983 following their political disagreement right from the inception of the SPLM/A in July 1983 but decided to give the SPLM/A a chance, notwithstanding future splits in the movement and the December 15, 2013 genocide against his Nuer tribe.
“I was strongly opposed to the SPLM/SPLA policy of claiming the liberation of the whole Sudan and their repressive policy of eliminating their opponents within the movement” Daniel asserts unabashedly before stating an unequivocal fact.
“The SPLM/SPLA was one of the few liberation movements worldwide that never condoned constructive criticism within its setup right from its inception in July 1983 up to the Independence Day of the Republic of South Sudan in July 2011. However my direct or indirect contributions for the cause of the people of South Sudan had been greatly noticed and appreciated by the ordinary people of Ulang County who benefited through the African Centre for Human Advocacy (ACHA). Daniel was referring to his nomination to the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) in September 2005 by the SPLM leadership under President Salvatore Kiir Mayardit, deputized by Dr. Riek Machar. He was honoured to represent the Ulang Constituency in the August Assembly under the SPLM ticket but it did not come out of the blue. It had happened as a result of Daniel’s concerted efforts to contribute to the cause of the suffering people of Southern Sudan.
As a dual citizen of Norway and Sudan who had impeccable knowledge and commitment, Daniel travelled between Norway and the countries of Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan organizing peace conferences and establishing the African Centre for Human Advocacy (ACHA) through which he ran programs that benefited his people. He was actively involved in resolving conflict between Ethiopian Nuer and their neighbours the Anyuak and at one time, he even encountered and interacted with the illustrious White Army on his journey back to Ethiopia then Norway. He chronicles that interaction through a segment that also reads like part of a Hollywood Blockbuster.
“I never hid my true dislike of the SPLM/SPLA movement since 1984. I became a member of the SPLM/SPLA after the reunification between it and the Anyanya II in 1988. It is the same organization I have greatly challenged in my recently published book titled “The Rise and Fall of SPLM/SPLA Leadership” which was published by Createspace in the USA and is already available at https://www.amazon.ca/Rise-Fall-SPLM-SPLA-Leadership/dp/1519374879” Daniel writes in another segment, without flinching. He was referring to the feeling of revulsion that he shares with millions of others about the horrendous violence the SPLM/SPLA have meted continuously on people they purported to liberate since the outbreak of the second civil war in the Sudan. Daniel was a witness to a December 1983 attack on Nasir by the SPLA that he describes in “TRUTH MUST BE TOLD” like a script from an action packed war movie. His experiences interacting with Anyanya II fighters, running errands for them as a young man, travelling to Ethiopia, encountering hostile SPLA members from his Nuer tribe who called him “Nyagat”, a derogatory name, meeting with Anyanya II leaders at Mandeng Luak and narrating how Samuel Gai Tut was killed may be some of the most litigious revelations in “TRUTH MUST BE TOLD”.
I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what got you killed Daniel, along with your unwavering commitment to Riek Machar. It is not far-fetched at all that someone got pissed off and poisoned you with a liver cancer inducing chemical, I uttered out loud in Canadian vernacular because that Satanic manner of murdering opponents or people who are in the way of evil plans is now rampant!
“On my way back to Sudan during the second week of March 1984, Imet Samuel Gai Tut and the other Anyanya II leaders with all their soldiers at Mandeng Luak village on Ethiopian territory. They were on their way to Itang” Daniel wrote before continuing.
“When Samuel Gai Tut and his colleagues saw me unexpectedly on the road to Sudan, they were very happy and confident that I would give them the correct information about the SPLA. They asked me to give them the correct information and brief them about the real situation at Itang Refugee Camp before they could embark on their journey to Adura, the SPLA Mobile Headquarters which is also known as Thiajak. Samuel Gai Tut and the rest of the Anyanya II leadership and their soldiers were on their way to Itang because they had been invited by the SPLM/A leadership for a reconciliation session and possibly a reunification of the two Southern Sudan armed movements and factions under one unified leadership.”
“Having beckoned to me to brief them about conditions at Itang and the intentions of the SPLM/A in inviting them to Ethiopia, I sat down with the Anyanya II leaders for about 10 minutes to brief them about the general situation at Itang Refugee Camp” Daniel continues to write and then expands elsewhere.
“The Anyanya II leadership under the command of Samuel Gai Tut asked me a number of questions, the first question being about the situation at Itang Refugee Camp.
“What are the moods of the SPLM/A leadership in the camp?”
“As far as I am concerned, the SPLM/A leadership are still hostile towards your leadership and the entire movement at large I had responded frankly”.
“I went further to relate to Samuel Gai Tut and the rest of the Anyanya II Leadership events that made me arrive at my conclusion about the SPLM/A's lack of commitment towards reunifying the two Southern Sudan movements for the common good of Southern Sudanese”.
“On the morning of March 28, 1984, the Anyanya II forces made a stopover at Lietnyaruai where they decided to prepare food for themselves and to rest after a long journey from Itang Refugee Camp before embarking on their next journey to the Sudan border” Daniel writes of a failed reconciliation between Anyanya II and the SPLM/A.
“Afterwards, they wanted to cross the Baro River which was still very shallow because it was still the dry season. However, their plans were curtailed because at around 10:00am while they were still preparing their food, the SPLA forces unexpectedly attacked them but the Anyanya II forces successfully managed to dislodge the SPLA attackers from the Lietnyaruai area. The fighting escalated to Adura and the Anyanya II forces eventually captured Adura town from the combined forces of the SPLA and Ethiopian soldiers stationed there”.
“In the process of fighting, the Anyanya II leader Samuel Gai Tut was unfortunately killed in action by the SPLA forces”.
“The fighting inside Adura town took place around 10:15am and this is where Samuel Gai Tut was killed instantly from the other side of the Dhuore River at a place called “Kuer Tuada”. Most of the Anyanya II leaders that we met that morning at Luolmokni were not aware of the death of Samuel Gai until later”.
After waiting for resettlementat the UNHCR compound in Gambella with SPLA agents constantly roaming Gambella town in search of him and his colleagues and then spending nine months in Transit in Kenya, Daniel was finally selected to immigrate to Norway and the rest is history.
Daniel leaves a huge vacuum and large shoes to fill but he has now passed the baton and we must keep running the race as we celebrate a life that was lived to the fullest but taken too soon. He will be deeply missed by his family but also by all of us who had the privilege of crossing paths with him during his walk on this passing earth.
Rest in Peace now Brother Daniel. I will definitely miss the phone calls that always began with “My Sister” and then proceeded to the horrendously destructive tribalism in South Sudan that must be curtailed. I am not sure if I should envy you for completing your own race and now enjoying the crown and exquisite mansion promised by Yeshuwa to every child of the Most High God in John 14:2or cry from a broken heart for the South Sudan that could have used your compassion and unwavering commitment to break the destructive tribalism that runs so deep it is threatening to wipe out the country you loved so profoundly. I am doing both as I also lament your absence and full involvement in the mega hit that will arise from “TRUTH MUST BE TOLD”. What an incredible life story!
I can promise you that I will not be the one that drops any of the batons including the one you passed in Oslo, Norway on Friday, April 20, 2018, three days after you responded to something very cheeky I have been contemplating. “This is a brilliant idea. You are absolutely correct” you had written without even giving me a hint that your departure to take abode in your exquisite mansion was imminent.
“2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” (John 14:2-6 New King James Version (NKJV)).
Nuerland, South Sudan, the rest of Africa and the world at large was very blessed to have you even temporarily. Your suffering people of South Sudan will stay eternally grateful for your role in their independence and they will overcome the man made horror imposed on them with help from the most High God you and I decided to defer the satanic occurrences in South Sudan to during many of our phone conversations.
“The independence of South Sudan from Sudan, which occurred on July 9, 2011, did not come out of the blue. All the Southern Sudanese participated in it, and the credit must be given to all of them whether they are majority or minority. Their equal participation from battlefields, negotiations, and the referendum should be acknowledged, as all those phases were necessary in bringing about an independent South Sudan nation” (Daniel Wuor Joak in “The Rise And Fall Of SPLM/SPLA Leadership” (http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Fall-SPLM-SPLA-Leadership/dp/1519374879/)).
Margaret Akulia is Editor and Writer of Unique True life Stories and Unique Legal Stories presented in print, art, audio and film format.