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Petition against Presence in Australia of Mrs Angelina Teny, South Sudanese Rebel Leader

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Dear Prime Minister,

We, the undersigned members of the South Sudanese Australians express our grave concerns about the presence of Mrs Angelina Teny, one of the top rebel leader and wife to the notorious South Sudanese rebel Dr Riek Machar Teny, in Australia.

Mr. Prime Minister, it is with deep regret and profound shock to learn that Mrs Teny was allowed entry into Australia.

We are aware that your government is fully apprised of the current events unfolding in South Sudan and the untold sufferings these events have exacted on the South Sudanese people.

While South Sudan, being the youngest country in the world, was expected to experience some turbulent times after the 2011 referendum, no one had expected the level of human suffering that was to unfold following the referendum, even after overwhelming support from various members of international community, including Australia.

Unfortunately, poor leadership and bad governance, political competition precipitated by wide spread availability of arms throughout the region decimated the South Sudanese people’s dream of living peacefully in their country and enjoying the dividends of their hard-earned independence.

Prime Minister, while the narratives of how the current war started are contested, there is no doubt that Dr Riek Machar’s penchant for ascending to the top was the catalyst for the conflict. You would agree with us that resolving state issues through armed resistance is wrong. Hence, by putting up armed struggle against legitimately elected government, Dr. Riek Machar Teny and his wife Angelina Teny are to be blamed for the current crisis. If they didn’t ignite a full-blown war in December 2013 by staging a rebellion aimed at toppling the government of President Salva Kiir, South Sudan would have not been where it is now.

We do not absolve President Salva Kiir and his government of blame. The government remains as a party to the conflict and in fact, the government has an upper hand in ending the conflict. However, we are talking here about a weak government besieged by all sorts of problems.

There have been numerous attempts to end the conflict and avert the ubiquitous humanitarian disaster caused by famine, insecurity and diseases but all these attempts have come to naught. Principal amongst these efforts was the agreement which was signed in Addis Ababa in August 2015 sponsored by the Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IDAG) and other stakeholders.

This peace agreement returned Dr Machar Machar to Juba, the Capital of South Sudan. However, due to the parties’ unwillingness to resolve the conflict peacefully, the parties engaged in a dogfight in July 2016, leading to Dr Machar escaping Juba. Thousands of people lost their lives within a matter of few days. 

Prime Minister, the African Union, IGAD, Troika and the UN, have now accepted that Dr Machar and company do not want peace. Hence, the reason behind Dr Machar’s current detention in South Africa. The above stakeholders do not believe that Dr Machar’s freedom is of benefit to the people of South Sudan.

Despite Dr Machar’s detention, his wife, Mrs Angelina Teny, the Chairperson of Security and Defence Committee for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), the rebel movement is very active and is engaged in a widespread recruitment of young men as child soldiers as well as worldwide, mobilising resources to fund the war. In fact, Dr Machar issued a circular appointing Mrs Teny a few days ago to lead the rebellion in his absence.

Mrs Teny is a serious threat to peace and stability in South Sudan. She is the brain behind Dr Machar’s rebel movement.

The Effects of the Conflict on the South Sudanese Australian Community

Prime Minister, the conflict in South Sudan has deeply affected the South Sudanese Australian Community. The Community remains divided and split across the lines.

The brutal nature of this conflict has widened the schism in the Community’s cohesion here in Australia. South Sudanese Australians continue to send their hard-earned money to relatives back in South Sudan and in refugee camps across the Eastern African region on the daily basis at the expense of their children here in Australia.

Memorial services are now a commonplace in the Community.  A day hardly passes without some sad news of a close relative or friend being killed.

In fact, Australians have lost their lives in this conflict. An example is Akol De Miyar, a young Australian who went to visit South Sudan in 2013. Having come to Australia at a very young age and raised here, Akol was excited to visit his family. Unfortunately, the conflict broke out in December 2013 and Akol was caught up in the conflict in the Upper Nile Region controlled by Mrs Teny and her husband’s rebel forces.

Akol was reportedly in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s Camp, however, he was kidnapped from the Camp by the rebels under the leadership of Dr Machar and Mrs Teny. Akol’s family were deeply affected when they saw Mrs Teny recently lying on the ABC about her activities to promote peace.

Concerns about Mrs Teny’s presence in Australia

Prime Minister, the Community is deeply concerned about the presence of Mrs Teny in Australia. The community believes that her activities are not to promote peace.

Mrs Teny is holding town hall meetings across Australia. She is also holding closed door dusk to dawn meetings with the extremists’ members of the rebel movement in Australia strategizing on how to mobilise resources to fund the rebel movement.

While Mrs Teny talks about peace in public, behind the closed doors, she is meeting with the supporters of the rebel movement, shoring up support and mobilising funds to support the violent activities of the rebel movement. This is the last thing our country Australia should accept.

Mrs Teny is a dangerous individual hellbent on going to lengths to achieve her goal by prolonging the conflict and spreading it to all parts of South Sudan to compel the government to yield in to their demands. All these negative efforts at the expense of innocent civilians, who end up being raped, killed, suffer from famine or diseases.

Removing and Denying Mrs Teny Entry into Australia in the Future

Prime Minister, the Community is deeply concerned of the presence of Mrs Teny in Australia. Being a country that prides itself on human rights, it is appalling to say the least that Mrs Teny was granted entry into Australia.

We are appealing to your government’s sense of good judgment, to ensure that Mrs Teny is removed from Australia immediately. Further, to ensure that she is never allowed entry to Australia anytime in the future.

The neighbouring Eastern African countries have demonstrated this by refusing Dr Machar’s entry and presence in their territories. Mrs Teny has now taken the mantle of the rebel leadership. She is no longer just the wife of the ‘bad guy’, she is the ‘bad guy’ herself.

Prime Minister, in respect of the above, and in the interest of maintaining a peaceful co-existence among the South Sudanese Australian Community, we appeal to your government to take this notice of concerns seriously and do the right thing by the South Sudanese Australian Community.

We look forward to your response.

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