May 18, 2012 (RUMBEK) - Police in South Sudan’s Lakes State on Monday 14 May arrested a female journalist working for state-owned Radio FM-98 in Rumbek.
- Lakes State Police Commissioner Saed Abdulatif Cawuol Lom at Rumbek Airport, South Sudan, 2011 (ST)
Ayak Dhieu Apar was arrested for hosting a live radio talk show about “How could public respect police”, with various listeners calling in to criticise the conduct and competence of the police services.
Lakes State Commissioner of Police, Maj-Gen Saed Abdulatif Chawuol Lom, is alleged to have instructed his officers to arrest Ayak.
Abdulatif is reported to have visited the office of the radio station himself to demand Ayak be taken into custody, after the station’s management refused to hand her over to the police.
Deng Mesheck, the acting director of the station, asked the police, who came in a pick-up truck loaded with policemen, to provide an arrest warrant.
According to Mesheck, one of the police captains responded that they were acting on “the instruction given to them by police high authority” adding that the Chief Inspector of Rumbek Central County police, Mangar Makeny, had given them “unwritten orders” to arrest Ayak.
The acting station manager rejected the demands. The police returned later with four more pick-up trucks full of police, and again ordered Ayak to come with them to the police station.
Ayak was eventually arrested by the police on Monday and held without charge until Thursday when she was released on bail. Despite not charging her with an offence the Chief Inspector of Police in Rumbek Central County Lt-Col Mangar Makeny says the police will be taking Ajak to court for alleged defamation and tarnishing the image of the police.
Lakes State’s newly-appointed Minister of Information and Communication, Charles Badiri Mayen said: “Saed the police commissioner has mastermind this arrest of local journalist Ayak, but later when Saed talk to Governor he distance himself from the case but right sources are telling me that he is behind this arrest.”
This is not the first time Lakes State’s government has arrested journalists without charge. In 2011 two local journalists of Radio Rumbek where arrested by the security services without charge.
The Governor of Lakes State, Chol Tong Mayay, has yet to comment on the incident.