Shilluk WarriorsIt was in the evening Saturday November 2007 the Sun had just sat but the sky was still clear the pastor had just finished the sermon of the last day of mourning. Almost everyone was getting ready to leave the gathering.  Walking with a group of three men I caught a glimpse of a tall and brown skin man with a cane on his right hand for what appeared to be a scar of the war on his upper leg. Readily, I recognized the face; it was Santino Ajang Aban, I run to him and introduced myself "Hello, uncle Santino my name is Bedepiny I‘m son of Nyapodh Thab's sister I had just arrived from Canada" I said.

I see, said Santino Ajang, I was with ya  gowl (guys) that he meant my late uncle Chol my mother's younger brother and his friends. After a brief silence Santion Ajang said, you see, I am staying in the house of Othow Aban.The next day I mentioned to grandfather that I had met Santino Ajang who was with my late uncle Chol in SPLA. I see, you mean wa (son) Aban, I had met him in his brother prayer, said grandfather. I knew most of Santino's brothers and sisters but because his elder brother Othow Aban was working in Tonga before the start of the war, he comes to Dolieb Hill occasionally.  In fact, until this time I still assumed that it was the younger brother Mojwok [Thatell] and Santino Ajang the ones who joined the SPLA. Under the burning sun of Malakal I decided to stumbled my way across Hayat Sora malakia two or three houses I would asked for the house of Othow Aban but none of them could recognized the name I was looking for.

I continued walking on the road until I found a convenient store whose owner turned out to be somebody I knew; I greeted him then asked if he knew the house of Mr. Othow Aban which his brother Santino Ajang was staying."Right there...", said the shop's owner, "Santino Ajang sometimes hangout with us here playing games." With apprehension I knocked on the house gate. There is a guest in front gate shouted a young lady. Then some boys called out for me to come. There is somebody looking for you shouted a woman. Inside Rakooba, Santino Ajang was lying in a bed for what appeared to be a nap; he woke up then said, Hello Bedepiny. He then called for young lady, and said, in my jacket's pocket there is money go to the store bring soft drink for this guy to drink.  It must have been for him that I was coming to learn about my uncle Chol. Instead I started my conversation with Santino Ajang about his family members most of whom I have cherished life in my earliest days in Dolieb Hill. "Are you married? Asked, Santino Ajang". No..! I was studying in Egypt then I moved to Canada, I said   I was with them said Santino Ajang.You guys joined the SPLA together I said.  Those guys left first, they were taken by Wa Sadiek, whereas Thwob Awin, Opal and myself were taken by some of Awlad Ngok Dinka who were left behind, but eventually we did met them in the refugee camp and started the training in the same battalion, Wajwok Wandh died while we were still in training camp, explained Santino Ajang; then in a lamented voice  Santino continued, as for, ya gowl (Obok, Chol and other five comrades) they died in Nuba Mountains, Thwob Awin died in a land mine incident and Opal died recently. Then after a deep sigh Santino said, it is not a good thing for soldiers not to have a structure.      As I recalled right after the attack on Jonglei Cannel Headquarter and the following battle in Anakdiar a current had been established among the young men of Dolieb Hill that made it impossible for a young man not to join the SPLA, day after day we would hear a group of six, five or three had left the village Santino Ajang was among the influx of those men.   

Uncle what happen to your leg...!!! I asked Santino.It is not my leg it's my hip this after we had done all sort of climbing and jumping around and all kind of martial art not even an old injury; we were driving somewhere in the Eastern Sudan when our vehicle with artillery shells rolled over that I got injured, said Santino.I asked Santino Ajang about Buyiny Obuyinj a tireless fighter who operated in Damazien front in which he was instrumental in capturing Kurmuk, encircled Juba and fought the famous Sife El-Obor offensive from Juba all the way to Lofant where he was eventually killed. In a clear genuine voice, Santino said..  If Jellaba had known the geography of the South Sudan well, we would have been toasted but the elephant grass made their advances seemed redundant, Buyiny fought in different front while I fought in another front in the same offensive. I told him that I was interested to hear about their story because thirty and fifty years from now these young kids would not know what you had done..!!! This is a history I said. By history I meant the notation of what has occurred, just as it happened. Will you be talking notes asked Santino Ajang. I said yes I told him in fact I have video camera. Uncle Santino smiled and said did you study journalism or science. I have an appointment with someone to pick me up perhaps we can drop you on our way, said Santino. I took his phone number then he suggested that Sunday would be the best day to meet him.Zing-zaging our way from Hayat Sora Malakia to Sora Jellaba the roads were pretty rough one of thing you recognized as a visitor to Malakal, back in the seat I can't help wondering about uncle Santino Ajang nothing had changed still the same person with his spontaneous smile. 

I had decided to visit Renk and Kosti a trip that took me all the way to Khartoum already El-Eid was on the way which created daunting hassle to move around by the time I arrived back in Malakal uncle Santino Ajang had left for Yei to celebrate Christmas with his family. I went back twice to the house of late Othow Aban in which his widow suggested that I should try Santino's phone but because of network problem I was not able to reach him I was running out of time for I was due to fly on January 13, 2008. Nyakom's grandson, shouted Othwo Aban widow; it was unbearable for us in Malakal to be under constant harassments, prosecutions and intimidation of regime's security in Malakal; one night they stormed our house and vandalised our belong that finally my husband decided to join the SPLA he was killed in action during SPLA operation in Malot. Frozen like Terracotta Warriors the famous Chinese imperial army, I was eager to hear the story of those gallant men of Dolieb Hill most of whom lay in unmarked grave in distance part of the South Sudan yet they will always remained in our hearts.

I wanted to ask him about Buyiny ,Wajwok, Obok [Nyatank], Chol, Obac [Agier], Ojwok Lou, Opal, Mojwok and many more heroes of Dolieb Hill, who fought and died. I was old enough to vividly remember my immersion with those a girded worriers. They were astoundingly imbued with the spirit of patriotism and self-sacrifice. Commoners who regard the cause for which they were fighting as their own; they distinguish themselves individually by such acts of personal initiative and heroism. Nothing equals the soldier courage. It is endlessly important that their story should be told away of celebrity statue of John Garang and others that attend most of our narration about our people struggle for independent. War is not a movie it is a tragedy of dead bodies, victims, the disabled, orphans, widows and the displace

Please login to comment

People in this conversation

  • Guest - Jwothab Othow

    Thanks to bro Bedepiny for your narrative the story of our heroes who made a noble sacrifice for our liberation stuggle. What a remarkable story of many Shilluk worries that made tremendous contributions to our liberation struggle. These heroes have made remarkable contributions and the most values of human dignity, human justice, and human freedom for our struggle. May God bless those who are still alive and rest the souls of those who have died during our struggle in peace.

    0 Like
  • Guest - Tipo William Mel

    thank you wad ma for writing up something about our brother and our uncles from our mothers side, who with the outbreak of war in 1983, they didn't hesitate to join the movement.they were brave enough to dedicate their youthful lives for the sake of our cause.
    They are incontestably passion bearers, they transcend their spcific historical circumstances and become our examplary.
    they lived a sacrificial and self-denial life for the cause to the end. their death were the ultimate witness to a sacrificial life.They need to be honored, because the achievement of comprehensive peace agreement (CPA)is vicarious benefit resulting from their suffering and death. their sacrificial lives still speak in our hearts and memory, even though they are dead.

    0 Like
  • Guest - James Okuk

    This is good initiative from brother Peter Bedpiny. May God bless our freedom fighters and rest the souls of those who who got killed in the battle fields in peace. May God give Hon.Santino Ajang and the rest of the living SPLA heroes good health and long life.

    0 Like
  • Guest - Nyaopun Aban Aban

    Thanks a lot Naphew, to had the story about those who shed theirs blood for others. They died for their country, turning the tide at battles like wadngajal and helping end the brutal oppression of slavery. And The Southerner soldiers who died in these wars were as brave as their compatriots in the Civil War. this is the strategy, that is how its meant to say.
    Get encourage, "through the battles which lost their lives had brought lights and rights to see all hided pots". who died in the Civil War. It’s tempting to assume that all the sacrifices of our soldiers are worthwhile. But mere courage guarantees no inherent moral rightness. So let’s remember the debt we owe to those who have died for freedom as well as those who risk and sacrifice in the name of protecting us all. If those who die for a worthy cause are indeed heroes to be honored, those who send our brave young men and women to die in wars of South Sudan. "mission accomplished".
    Bravo Peter Bedpiny, aalways After the battles who came
    will be asks about his brother and friends.

    0 Like
  • Thanks you all for your kind words I am really humbled:
    I wrote about my personal experience but the story of young men of Dolieb Hill could be any other quintessential village in the South Sudan. I claimed no rightness; history experienced is different than history remembered. What defined any person is a place and time. Certainly war is terrible. However, slavery, rape, torture, and mass shooting of civilians- these are worse than war. In fact, they should give us clear guidance about how to respond to threats and aggression.

    0 Like
  • Guest - Giddy

    hey i feel u my black brothers..we all know that black people were taken to slavery by arabs from the innocent villages to the whites at the kenyan from northern uganda living in the US..but street hustlin tryin to get things right bout black plannin on writin music en rappin en am just sayin what the fuck was black people bein killed in sudan while the goverments of kenya,uganda en ethiopa sure the northern goverment did get help from there arabic only 21 but sayin that am watchin those punks makin moves killin en rapin black people in abyei let them try asecond war..i will be enlisting in the SPLA ,,it aint makin sense while ur alife en outthre u see helpless people gettin killed coz of oil en diamonds..sudan is anegro shrine whre all the beautiful blackness we see around came from..north africa was once anegro place but arabs started war against helpless black people en took them to slavery en occupied this area.they continue pushing us south...damn u colored people u took our people to the middle east but today we dont see any black person there u killed our people or castrated them!! or tell me whre all those millions of africans taken to sauda arabia or oman..i have never seen ablck person in this country..except the carribean en the US..SO MY BROTHERS KEEP YO HEAD UP..lets unite!!am aradical nigga everyday trying to find what is wrong en what is right..i will make my music en tell the all world bout the massacre of helpless black women en childrenn en get those black snitches..kenya,ethiopia en uganda answer why in those tymes they couldnt order full scale invasion of khartoum like how nyerere did for uganda under that punk idiamin.probably kenya gat more good military power en we couldnt have seen this disturbin pictures of helpless black people..thanks en once more keep yo heads up

    0 Like
  • Guest - Dr. Daniel Thabo

    Mr.bedipiny it's fine job you have done.But it is better to write collo warriors instead of Shilluk warriors . Every ocolo should use the word collo in whatsoever narration he/she makes so that the new generation should not go wrong.
    Dr. D.Thabo

    0 Like