A wound that doesn’t heal

In the past, different subgroups of the Ron people have fought against each other and also against their neighbours. Here is a story about a war of the Daffo people against the Birom people. It was written down by Mafulul Lek in 1992.

Mandung si shiɗet a Ryom

Mma a halai Maɗafo ɗiin a nii: “A Ryom!”, Maandung mai. “A Ryom” shiɗet mai, mma naf ma hweng ɗiin mama a ti’ Mandung si shiɗyaat. Si shiɗyaat andai, mma si mbi’ naf mmis mama ndee si ndek a ɓur ti Ryom ɗiin ti si Ɗafo. Si nii, Mandung mi, ndee si mun puri ti fufohi a ɓuri.

Nai Ɗafo si cu Ryom mawan mawan ti. Ɗak Ryom si shitai mbayati mu cwai sis a fwash, si kul naf ma taɓak, ɓa si lim ɓuri. Wa’ Mandung ma Ɗafo nai si nii, si sun ɗama ɗiin andai kwa. Naf ma taɓak ma Ryom si nii, mma Ɗafo mi fuk, Ryom si talis ɗama ɗiin ma lim ti ɓuri gbaak, mi wis a tali. Mandung si kwis! Si nii, wa’ sin si sun talal ɗiin kwa. Ɗam mama si sun, yit mai kek : “mamot nya!” Nai si cu a fo, si ndulai naf ma taɓak ma Ryom yish, si hyaak la. Ryom nai si kiris fo ti tutok, mawis a wur, sin ti fayi.

Ɗafo si kabok Mandung, si niyis, taa we, naf si hyaak naf ma taɓak a ɓur kwa. Mandung si nii, sin si hyaak! Ɗafo nai si wakis Mandung ɓuri a ra, si tikis la a wur.

Mandung nai si kai nggulai Ryomi, si mbwyaash ti a wurai. Ryom nai si shitai Mandung si kat a ra kucyaak kek, si nii: “Kyani vaatun ɗes hani, si kul can ti ɓur a wur fwet, wur ti ɗus can ti kwa gbum-a?” Nai si ndulai Mandung yish, si niyis “mamot nya keki!” Mandung si shitai, tagun mu wu kaɓu kong, si niyis, wa’ ɓa si lim ɓuri. Ryom si niyis, kwai ni lak andai, hun mi, hu ku, hu hyaak naf ma taɓaki la. Amwash, nin ɗes, ni kwinin andai! Mandung nai si kiris fo ti tutok. Ryom si nii, haang, findel a mawal. Si nii, Ryom ndee si hek, si ɗafai a ra yo masut mai kek .

Ɗam mama a kir wa’ mayes a kwai hani, Mandung si shiɗyaat a Ryom nai. Yo sin a shiɗet naf mmis mama ndee si ndek a ɓur tindai mi. A kwai, shiɗet ma Andungi a kat yo jam mai. Ɗak mma si shiɗet, si nii, “A Ryom!”, naf si sisaal, si niyis: “Yuk! Yet kirai hai nzu ti Mandung tindai ti kwa, andee hu ndek a fwash andai ha?” Andai ɗes, wa’ mayes a kwai hani, sin Ryom ɗes, miis ti yir ma naf mmis mama ndee si ndek a ɓuri ti a dyaar! Wa’ mma Maɗafo ɗiin a yu a kil ma shir a gangang ma shinggil ti Ryom ɗiin, si shaahai shiri! A fa wa’ ndee Ɗafo si hek naf mmis ka masuti a ɓur tima Mandung si shiɗyaati. Mma ɗamani hani ti awei, a hyau taɓaki ahun wet?

The Mandung swear “At Birom land”

Whenever you hear a Daffo man swear, saying: “At Birom land!”, he must be from Mandung village. The entire people of that village swear with these words in remembrance of a tribal war between Daffo and the Birom people in which the people of Mandung village suffered great casualties. It is told that the Mandung people were the leading horsemen in that battle.

The Daffo people were beating the Birom in the fight. When the Birom realised that they were losing the battle, they asked for peaceful settlement of the conflict. But the Mandung people completely rejected the peace offer. They wouldn’t even accept a big sum of money which the Birom offered to pay. They said that they didn’t want peace, what they wanted was blood. (Lit.: The only thing they know is “Death is sleep.”) With that, they cried out a war-cry, attacked the Birom peace-makers and killed them. The rest of the Birom took to fleeing, followed by the Mandung people.

But their fellow Daffo men had warned them not to kill the Birom peace-makers, for that was against tradition. Because they refused to to heed the warning, their fellow men returned home and left them to fight the war alone.

As the Mandung were chasing the Birom to their houses, the Birom looked back and saw that the Mandung men had been abandoned by their fellow Daffo men. They therefore summoned up courage to face them. In the ensuing battle, the Mandung men were no longer a match for the Birom. The Mandung men then had to ask for peace themselves. The Birom told them that they had asked for peace first, but the Mandung men had rejected it and even killed their peace-makers. Therefore now, there wouldn’t be any peace agreement. The Mandung people were put on the run. The Birom killed most of them. Only a handful of them were spared.

Today, when the Mandung swear: “At Birom land!”, they think of that bitter experience. But people make jokes about it, saying: “Nonsense! You were paid in your own coins, weren’t you?”  Up to this day, the Birom people still have a bitter feeling against the Daffo people for the casualties they suffered in that war. Whenever a Daffo man comes to medical treatment in their area, they will not attend to him. To both parties, it seems like “a wound that never heals”. If things are like this, is there any hope for peace among the two groups?

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