PEACEMAKER TO SOME BUT – A WICKED WAR MONGER TO OTHERS, ISMAIL KONYI DIES AT 80.
A man who has been the custodian of his Murle community, Sultan Ismail Konyi has died. He died of Ulcers at a hospital in Juba’s Mauna Suburb according to the Deputy Minister of information Baba Medan.
Ismail, had been one of the most enduring politicians in the country, one who reigned in the affairs of the old Sudan, yet he was still able to find a role in the politics of the independent South Sudan.
In the past he worked with the various Sudanese regimes mostly as a militia leader and a quisling.
During the war of Liberation he was fiercely anti-SPLA and loyal servant of Sudanese regimes who used his militias to hit at the SPLA and terrorized the people Bor who were perceived to be the backbone of SPLA in Jonglei region. His militia was responsible for the murder of SPLA recruits who crossed the Murle lands on their way to Ethiopia, some of the recruits came all the way from Awiel and Warrap areas.
Despite his limited education and dubious past, he was a cunning politician who always aligned himself with the moment’s Kingpin.
In the independent South Sudan, he was able to reinvent himself as a staunch supporter and ally of President Salva Kiir who made him governor of Boma State. In his life time, he carried the titles of Governor, Member of Parliament and presidential advisor.
His friendship with the president allowed him to disguise himself as peacemaker while fomenting vicious violence on communities in Jonglei region. There are allegations that he was able to use those powerful connections to reap military support for his tribal militias.
Many have said that he had a direct access to the head of Internal Security Bureau of the National Security who supplied rifles and munitions directly to his Murle Militias who terrorized the region relentlessly for the past 10 years.
While he propagated violence behind the scenes, Ismail maintained a face of peace maker publicly.
He frequently spoke in public rallies and peace conferences deceiving citizens and hoodwinking international humanitarian community that he was a peace advocate.
He told a UN peace conference in 2017 “We leaders must sensitize our people to change their way of life. We have to change the common narrative that the Murle are child abductors, cattle thieves, killers and violent people,”
Those public statements were miles from what his true intentions were.
Yet for many who shared his treacherous politics, he was a hero, and for those who loath bloodletting and betrayal he was a wicked villain.
Author: John Baptist