12/03/2015
lisa monaghan

Leonardi (2007). Violence, Sacrifice and Chiefship in Central Equatoria, Southern Sudan

Two elderly chiefs from the same clan of the Sudanese Kakwa came to live in Yei Town, after it was captured in 1997 by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) from Government of Sudan (GoS) forces. One of them, ‘Simon’, suffers from chest complaints, which he attributes to his torture by SPLA soldiers in the early 1990s: according to witnesses, he was tied and stretched with ropes as well as beaten As a mere headman, he is bitter about the attempted self-promotion to full chiefship of his neighbouring sub-chief and town court member, ‘Ezekia’. Ezekia became a chief around the same time that Simon suffered his torture; when the majority of people fled from the SPLA to take refuge in the town or in nearby Uganda, the remaining rural population were told that the SPLA ‘worked with someone called a chief’, and Ezekia was duly selected to perform this role. Torture of suspected GoS informants, as well as provision of food for the soldiers, then reportedly took place within Ezekia’s house. Since the signing of the peace agreement in January 2005, there have been increased demands by some local people for the chiefship to be removed from Ezekia and restored to the hereditary line of chiefs. This process is further complicated, however, by a deeper layer of local controversy regarding the origin of this hereditary line nearly a century earlier with a chief from outside the senior ‘first-born’ lineage, remembered forstanding up to the Belgian Congolese soldiers who tortured him.

Category: Conflict

Sub-category: Community, Local, Peace