By Nanne op ‘t Ende
April 4, 2006
Mudir is another fighter who has seen most of the major battles in the Nuba Mountains. As the head of Yousif Kuwa's bodyguard, he didn't get much sleep. He became an officer with special duties in gathering intelligence, and now he's responsible for all the information related to the integrated forces.
Mudir DafaAllah Kapitulek
My name is Mudir Batallah Kapitulek, I am the SPLA officer responsible for the integrated forces in South Kordofan. I was born in Sabori, in a place called Jabori. I am 44 years old.
Why I came to the SPLA? From the time I was a boy I saw how the people of the Nuba Mountains go without food, without proper drinking water and without dress. They were hungry, they were thirsty; they had no education. The government kept the Nuba people down and denied them their freedom since independence from the British in 1956. Those are the reason why I joined the SPLA in the struggle for all the people of Sudan.
I was a member of Komolo, and I participated in the attempted coup in 1983, together with Ismael Khamis and Yunis Abd Sadr. The coup failed and we were imprisoned for some time. In 1985 we tried a second time, again with Ismael Khamis, and again we ended up in prison. After my release I joined the SPLA in Bilfam in Ethiopia, on September 22, 1985.
After a training in Bilfam I went to the South; I stayed there for three years, going all over the place. In 1987 I participated in the capture of Kurmuk. Then in 1988 I returned to Bilfam and I joined with the Nuba forces that went to the Nuba Mountains with Commander Yousif Kuwa in 1989. I knew Yousif from the Tillo Higher Secundary school, where he had been a teacher, and of course I knew him as the leader of the Komolo.
After some time I became the head of Yousif’s bodyguard. I was always near him; we protected him all the time: at home, on the way and in battle. I remember we fell in an ambush once; we went from the Southern Mountains to the West, to Julud and those places. Near Jebel Arid we were ambushed. It was a tough fight and Yousif joined us with his gun. We survived.
There were always people who tried to kill him. Soldiers from the Government army, men from the militias; we usually warded them of easily. Then there were people who would come at night, alone, trying to get near him with a knife. They tried many times, but we prevented all these attacks. I didn’t sleep much though. I had to control the guards at night, make sure they stayed awake.
The most dangerous were the people trying to bewitch him. They might come just to greet him, with oil on their hands that was prepared by the kujur (sorcerer). And people tried to poison his water or his food, so we always tasted all his food before he could eat from it. He had a personal doctor as well. We would always question anyone who came to see him, and we would just look at the way they behaved, their eyes, their faces. If we had any doubt, we would continue our interrogation.
The worst problem I had to deal with was when the people of Yunis Abd Sadr and Ouwad Abdel Karim Kuku wanted to take over the Movement in the Nuba Mountains from Yousif. But we solved this problem.
Since I entered I have fought at nearly every single battle in the Nuba Mountains. From the first ambush we fell into at Hafir Nigeria, to the following battle in Fama, to the one in Kurungu, then in al Hamra, and later the battle in Um Dorein, when Yousif was outside. In Koia in 1998 I remember you were there with Ismael, in the morning. And in 2000 there was the battle of Ardan. I led my men into the fight, side by side with Kelman, like I had done so many times before. In all those years I got hit twice, here, and here: my body is my personal document.
With Commander Yousif we lost a great man. I miss him very much. He learned us so much; he made real leaders out of us. He was a hero, but he was also a teacher, and at the same time he was always one of us. We lost him… that’s life.
After Yousif died, the bodyguards took over the protection of the new Governor, but I became responsible for the heavy artillery for some time. Then I became the manager of the Fourth Front in Lueri and later I was responsible for the training centres for new recruits.
Now I’m working with the integrated forces. Of course there is no real integrated force: we are ready for it but the Sudan Armed Forces haven’t prepared their forces yet, so we have no one to integrate with.
My work is information and communication. Brigadier Jagod is commanding the Fourth Front, but I am keeping all the information. I know where the troops are stationed, ours and those of the enemy. I have the maps that show all the positions, and I receive all the reports on what is going on. If anything happens, if there is any incident, I know about it, and I take it up with Jagod.
Some two days back we had an incident at Werni, and there’s the incident in Brham, where two soldiers were ambushed. I receive the reports; it’s my responsibility to discuss these matters with the UN. Unfortunately, the UN doesn’t work very hard to address the problems. Especially the Egyptians are not very keen to act.
There are still many incidents like this, but for the civilians at least, the peace has brought freedom of movement. They can come and go as they please. Well, here anyway. Coming from Khartoum or other places in the North they can still be stopped by security forces, to be interrogated about where they go and what they want to do in the Nuba Mountains. Sometimes they are actually sent back.
I think that the peace agreement has failed for 99%. Yes, there has been change, but it’s not what we had expected. Like this, I don’t think peace has any chance. Of course we will have elections on 2008, and maybe it will bring a good government. Meanwhile we have to keep the forces quiet, which isn’t easy with all these incidents happening.
If we ever have real peace, I will be very happy and I will return to a civilian life. I will just stay home and take it easy. Maybe I will work to keep our culture: Yousif always told us to strengthen our identity and our culture, and we are working right now to make it strong. My tribe, the Amlawiya, forgot about their customs, but now we’re returning to our rituals and dances.
But as long as it isn’t over, I will continue the struggle.
Interviewed in Kurchi on April 4, 2006.
The Nuba Mountains Homepage was made by Nanne op 't Ende.
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