24 Aug 2019

 

Recalling 1987-1989 Famine In Bahr el Ghazal Region Of South Sudan

"I am not really even sure whether majority of South Sudanese realise the fact that we are currently heading back to become second-class citizens in our own country, a situation from which we liberated ourselves. "

By Moses Deng Bol

Between 1987-1989, hundreds of thousands of people died from hunger in Northern Bahr el Ghazal Region (The defunct States of Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, and Abyei Area).

What led to this massive death was because the Pro-Government Arab Nomads, then known as Muralean (People on the move - they were called this way because they were moving on the back of horses and camels) were terrorising this region between December-May ever year, taking millions of cows which were the main source of livelihood for many families in this region.

They also took as much food as they were able to carry on the back of camels and burned the rest of the food which they were not able to carry.

Hundreds of thousands of families, whose cattle and food were either looted or burned, travelled to the North, where most of them either died on the way or ended up being abducted and used as slaves by the same Muraleen.

Those who remained behind either died in their villages or in the local markets where they moved in search of food.

Every morning, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Army (SPLA) would force civilians who were still a bit strong to collect the dead bodies and throw them into River Lol, in order to be carried away by the running water because no one was able to burry the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who were dying daily.

I saw dead bodies floating over water in River Lol for the first time because, culturally, I was not allowed to see a dead body as a young boy.

One day we found a whole family (father, mother and children) dead inside their house as we were grazing our cows in one of the villages. One of my friends stepped on a dead body as he was running to stop cows from entering some one’s farm.

I did’t feel at the time that I was traumatized by this situation until I went to Kenya for theological training.

This is why it pains me so much when I see the resources of South Sudan, which could have been used to provide services to the people who have suffered so much for so long, being wasted by people who have not experienced such situations as a result of the liberation struggle.

It is even more painful when I see South Sudan heading back to the same situation where we struggled to liberate ourselves from. I am not really even sure whether majority of South Sudanese realise the fact that we are currently heading back to become second-class citizens in our own country, a situation from which we liberated ourselves.

It is therefore my prayer and hope that God Almighty will intervene so that our children and children of our children don’t have to go through the same situation we went through again.

Remember history repeat itself if those who went through it don’t put in place measures to prevent it from doing so again in future. God bless South Sudan.
 

Posted in: Home, Opinions
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05/06/2019, 9:24 AM
 - Posted by Jacob Akol
I recall 1998 as well in the same area. My involvement in that story will be summarised here sometime soon.
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