Anya-nya movement in Upper Nile-part 3

Members. of Anyanya 1 fighter in Eastern Equatoria/PHOTO: courtesyMembers. of Anyanya 1 fighter in Eastern Equatoria/PHOTO: courtesy

Hon. Mangar Amerdid

After the fighting in Pachalla, the four Pauls split up; Paul Ruot, Paul Nyingori, Paul Adung, and Paul Awel. It so happened that Paul Awel and Paul Adung went to a camp near Nasir, wherewith 800 men and 221 guns they fought against six companies of Northern Soldiers who attacked them on March 27th, 1964. 

Afterward, Ruot and Nyingori rejoined Awel and Adung, and the four remained together for a month and constructed the general headquarters for Upper Nile province. This was the last meeting of the four Pauls. Paul Nyingori left in April to open a camp near Pibor, and Paul Adung left in June to begin operations in the region of Renk. Neither ever returned: Nyingori quarreled with Ruot and refused to come back, while Paul Adung was killed on his way back to the headquarters. The circumstances were these. 

The split between Ruot and Nyingori had led to Ruot’s resignation, but when the resignation was sent to the political wing of the movement in Ethiopia for ratification it was rejected, and Ruot was reinstated. Ruot then sent a letter to Adung that he was resuming command, and asked him to return to the headquarters. It was on his return that he met a force of Northern soldiers at Akoko, 50 miles north of Malakal. In the engagement, 15 Anya-Nya soldiers were killed; Adung was wounded and died of tetanus.

Following Adung’s death, Paul Awel was given command of Adung’s forces as well as his own. At the time there were three battalions in the upper Nile, distributed as follows. The Northern battalion (formerly Adung’s) operated in the region of Renk and Kodok. After Adung’s death, its operational commander was Daniel Owogo. 

The Western battalion (Awel’s) had as its area Malakal itself, Fangak, Bor, and Bentiu districts. Second in command to Awel was Daniel Nyang Cuol. Finally, the Eastern battalion operated in Nasir and Akobo districts, under the command of Nyingori assisted by George Disol. The Pibor area was not included in the list. 

The reason is that at the time, the district commissioner was a Murle by the name of Hassan Nyingole, who persuaded the Murle people to be loyal to the Khartoum government and not to cooperate with the Anya-Nya soldiers.

In March 1965, the Anya-Nya soldiers suffered a severe loss with the death of Paul Ruot. He was proceeding to a meeting with Nyingori on the Ethiopian border, and on the way took some cattle from a small village between Akobo and Pibor. He then retreated, knowing that the Northern troops would follow him. The pursuing force was however larger than anticipated, coming up from Pibor in lorries along dry-season roads, and the ensuing battle was a grim one. 

Forty-two Anya-Nya soldiers died, some of the thirsts as the defending force were cut off from water, and the number of Northern casualties was estimated to have been 85. Ruot himself was wounded in the shoulder and the right leg, each time returning to lead his men once more before being finally hit in the head. He was buried where he fell by his men.

Following the death of Ruot; Awel and Nyingori planned to meet, but Awel who was in the region of Malakal had 30 wounded men with him and could not make the journey to Nyingori’s camp. During the whole of 1965, there was constant fighting around Malakal, and to anyone who took note of the frequent ambushes and Anya-Nya raids, it must have been a mystery where they got their ammunition. 

The answer is simple; they purchased it in Malakal. It seems there was an Arab dealer there who had an officer friend who took the bullets from the armory and sold them. 

Suffice to say, the deaths resulting from the fighting in Upper Nile, and indeed throughout Southern Sudan as a whole, were not confined to the Anya-Nya or Northern Sudan soldiers. The civilian population suffered a great deal. 

This is illustrated by the Abu Anga incident. In April 1965, the Nile steamer named Abu Anga, empty of passengers, was about to tie up to the bank at Warajwok, a few miles south of Malakal, in order to collect firewood. The Abu Anga was ambushed by a platoon of Anya-Nya soldiers led by Daniel Owogo. As soon as the captain of the steamer saw the attack he cut the connection between the second and third-class barges, and the engine and the second-class departed, leaving the third-class behind. 

There had been 15 army troops guarding the second-class, but none on the third, which was promptly captured and sunk by Owogo. In retaliation, the Sudan army descended on Warajwok a few days later, when Owogo had left, and killed 89 people, all males.


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