By Ngor Arol Garang
October 23, 2011 (JUBA) - A major South Sudanese opposition party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) on Sunday protested against the “targeted” arrest of its members.
- Onyoti Adigo, leader of the opposition group in South Sudan’s parliament SPLM-DC speaks to Sudan Tribune in Juba. 2 October 2011 (ST)
Onyoti Adigo, who leads the largest opposition party in the National Legislative Assembly, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday said that three diplomats aligned to his party were picked up at gunpoint on Friday while leaving the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation.
He named James Okuk as one of the members being held in undisclosed location by South Sudan’s security services for allegedly for writing against president on the internet. Some other SPLM-DC members including Sabino Tom who were arrested with James have been freed.
“I want to tell you that on Friday, three diplomats in the name of James Okuk and Sabino Tom with another colleague were picked up at the ministry of foreign affairs. They were picked up at gunpoint and driven off to undisclosed placed,” Adigo told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
“When James Okuk tried to resist because he did not receive arrest warrant, the security elements cocked the pistol and pointed it at him until he complied,” said Adigo, describing the act as an “unacceptable behavior.”
The leading member of the party, which split away from South Sudan’s ruling SPLM in 2009, further added that he does not know the circumstances of their arrest.
“It is important that he is taken to a competent court of law instead of arbitrary arrest, if at all there is an issue with him. Arresting him without following legal procedures is unacceptable.”
"His ministry should have been served with letter of arrest such that he is officially released,” he added.
While attempts to reach to security apparatus at Criminal Investigation Department (CID) failed, General Peter Biar Mading, spokesman of South Sudan’s police told Sudan Tribune that he could not comment as he had just returned from Uganda
Reacting to the arrest, some members of the public, who did not want to be named, observed that the arrest did not follow legal procedures.