The 4th Commemoration of December 15th, Nuer – Juba Massacre

Credit: Zechariah James Machar

By: Zechariah James Machar

(OurSouthSudan) – December 15, 2017 marks the 4th year of the darkest moment in the history of South Sudan and Sudan. It was the moment in which hopes and dreams of millions of South Sudanese were shattered when their own government targeted and indiscriminately massacred innocent civilians of Nuer ethnic background in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan.

The incidence plugged the country into one of the most brutal civil war in the 21st century, with enormous loss of lives and displacement of more than five million – half the country’s population. It is estimated that about 20,000 Nuer civilians, including children, women, elites, elderly and religious leaders were murdered by security operatives and government militias of the Dinka tribe between December 15th -18th within the capital, Juba, alone.

By all indicators, there was no doubt that this mass murder was premeditated with a clear intention of ethnic cleansing against the Nuer people. It is the worst massacre ever committed against one tribe in the history of South Sudan and Sudan, and it amounts to genocide by all measures. Thanks to the United Nation peacekeeping forces in Juba that opened their military barracks and save thousands of lives of women and children. The situation could have been far worse as government militias were mercilessly hunting and mass murdering the Nuer and any non-Nuer who dare to question their motive.


According to Edmund Burke, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” The Nuer is one of the 64 tribes that make up South Sudan and their contributions to the liberation of Sudan from British and subsequent liberation of South Sudan is enormous. However, these national contributions and associated losses are hardly recorded for the next generation to learn from. In this context Nuer-Juba Massacre, which was a national tragedy, should be enshrined in South Sudan’s national constitution as a National Memorial Day for the following reasons:

The Nuer-Juba Massacre is the ONLY massacre in Sudan and South Sudan history in which over 20,000 innocent civilians were target and mercilessly murdered in just three days using national resources.

The Nuer-Juba Massacre shall serve as a tragic reminder and lesson for all South Sudanese that such a national tragedy should never repeat itself again in South Sudan.

The Nuer-Juba Massacre fostered unity among the Nuer to secure their interests and effectively contribute to the development of South Sudan.

The Nuer-Juba Massacre disclosed the position of the Nuer Community within the geopolitical environment in Africa and at the global level.

Since December 2014, the Nuer Community Worldwide designated December 15th as a national Memorial Day to remember the precious lives of the 20,000 innocent Nuer men, women, and children killed in Juba as well as the lives of those from other ethnic groups who were killed as a result of this tragic incidence. It is a moment of reflection on our history as a nation and prayer for peace and reconciliation. The Nuer Community is known for its bravery and resilience in the face of difficulties.

As December 15th is approaching, it’s paramount to remind ourselves that this dark day in our Country’s history must be commemorated by all South Sudanese nationals at home and in diaspora.

The author of this article, Zechariah James Machar, he can be reached at zee4yo at yahoo dot co dot uk

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