After forcing the native farmers (Ma’dis) into exile 5 years ago, things haven’t been easy for the regime’s tribal forces in Ma’diland. With no cassava or maize to steal like before, they have found themselves in a new battle, this time, against starvation. The regime’s forces (mostly dinka) are said to be wandering around food joints and marketplaces, begging for food from sympathizers (the locals).

An eyewitness who spoke to this revolutionary journalist on condition of anonymity describes the condition of the hunger-beaten tribal soldiers comically saying starvation has obliterated their superiority complex beyond measure and that they have become humble like doves.

“They address us as “amba” (native’s word for boss) when they need help. They linger around marketplaces and restaurants all day, begging for food and money.”

The informant explains that in the past, they (Kiir’s men) would simply go to the farms and steal cassava as much as they wanted and that they were not answerable to the farm-owners but now, apparently after getting taste of their own medicine, their notoriety has plummeted significantly.

“It is incredible how the same people who used to steal our cassavas and maize with impunity now seeking favour from us. They must have learned and relearned from their own folly. A sane person doesn’t bite the hand that feeds him or her,” he explains.

Another resident of Nimule we spoke to, over this matter, believes the humbleness and gloom of Kiir’s hunger-beaten tribemates shouldn’t be misconstrued as “lesson learned” but rather be treated as a survival trick intended to win sympathy from the locals.

“These people (Kiir’s men) can do anything and everything to survive but the word “change” doesn’t exist in their dictionary. They can call you “sir” when they don’t hold guns in their hands and call you “a criminal” when they have guns in their hands,” he said.

Majority of the tribal soldiers in Ma’diland were deployed by self-proclaimed king of Aweil, Paul Malong Awan aka KING PAUL, during his tenure as the regime’s Army Chief of staff. It’s believed, the deployment was part of JCE’s strategy to subtly occupy Ma’diland. Between 2013-2014, their cruelty against the natives was at its peak and impossible to bear, forcing the natives to flee as refugees in Uganda.  

To lure the farmers whose absence has left them defenceless against hunger-attack, back while at the same time galvanising their illegal occupations of Ma’diland , early this year, the regime conducted trust and confidence building meeting with SPLA IO, Pageri brigade where both the SPLA-IO and government representatives had theoretically agreed on the need to fully implement chapters 2 and 3 of the previous agreement which per their calculation, would pave way for “peaceful” coexistence with the host community but till now nothing has materialised ever since the discussion was held.

With the destruction inflicted on the host community, confidence building initiative alone would seem illogical unless the Salva Kiir returns his tribal forces with their families as well as cattle, back to their respective places and compensate the natives for the damages caused.