August 3, 2012 (JUBA)- South Sudan security authorities on Friday issued “stern” administrative instructions, asking its organs and associated offices to immediately ensure an end to reporting on an alleged foiled coup attempt, including mentioning names of the military officers involved.
- Deputy commander of the South Sudan Military Intelligence, Mac Paul (Bonifacio Taban)
“This note serves as gentle request to the general public to avoid being negative about statement of the president of the unfounded allegations by the Sudanese media about claims of coup [sic],” reads an internal memo from the office of the country’s director general for internal security, Akol Kur Koch, seen by Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
It was alleged that high ranking officers in the army known as ’Garang Boys’; loyalists of late Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) leader, John Garang, were plotting to capture power from president Salva Kiir by military coup.
It was also rumoured that the deputy commander of the South Sudan Military Intelligence, Mac Paul, from Bor community, was arrested with 15 other officers and were taken to Yie military prison on Sunday on charges of actively participating in the plot.
James Hoth Mai, Chief of General Staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) on Tuesday denied allegations of a coup attempt
Anonymous SPLA military sources say Paul and fellow senior SPLA member, Marial Nuor, both of whom are now in detention, "have long been controversial figures. Their names have always appeared in illegal detention and torture of their opponents."
The statement claims that Kiir did not accuse any of the senior military officers of any attempt to topple his government, but that he was letting the public know that reports of a coup which was reported in Khartoum were “just ill invention” to cause instability in Juba’s leadership.
“It seems the president is being misquoted in news reports and in other forums. Because of this and in order to avoid creating misunderstanding and negative discussions, we write to inform our offices to immediately ensure that media stops reporting about this issue. We also calls on individuals to cease discussions related to this matter”, the memo reads.
The coup allegations led to fears of insecurity which led to the implementation of stabilisation techniques including roadblocks and curfews.
In an interview with Sudan Tribune on Friday MP in the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, Deng Majok, ”it is difficult establishing what actually is happening. Relevant authorities supposed to confirm or deny have always shown little interest in offering elaboration on comments.”
Majok said he only became aware of the allegations when Kiir publicly denied them at an official function marking 7th martyrs anniversary on 30 July. “I asked about roadblocks around the ministries and no explanations were made”, Majok explained.
He suggested that regular police patrols should be deployed and “all soldiers should remain in the barracks” in order to improve the atmosphere.