March 17, 2013 (RUMBEK) - Students from South Sudan’s Lakes state reportedly boycotted a meeting in Kampala, Uganda, on Saturday in protest against the new military caretaker governor’s hard-line security policies and human rights record.
According to the chairman of the Rumbek Youth Union (RUMYU) in Kampala, Marial Makuong, Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol phoned him requesting that students brainstorm ideas on how security could be improved in the state.
However, the meeting at Mukwano Mall was only attended by 45 students, a low number for such a meeting.
Laat Marial, a student who attended the meeting, confirmed the majority of youth from Rumbek had boycotted the event, refusing to contribute their ideas because of their unhappiness with the new governor.
He described the meeting as “fake”, saying Lake state youth were “annoyed” that Dhuol had asked for their views considering the current situation.
Dhuol was installed in January, replacing Chol Tong Mayay, who had been struggling to prevent inter-clan violence in the state.
He has since introduced a string of tough measures, with some residents accusing him of introducing marshal law.
The governor has created military prison in Langcok in the northern part of Rumbek Central county, where more than 100 young men suspected of involvement in recent violence are being held. No relatives, human rights officials or lawyers have been allowed to visit the prison and there are reports that prisoners are being mistreated on a daily basis both at Langcok and Rumbek Central prison.
Earlier this month, the chairman of the Rumbek Youth Union in Australia, Magang Chol Mathei, appealed to Lakes state’s leadership to release Manyang Maker Tulba, an Australian citizen who has been arrested and allegedly “tortured” in connection with February’s inter-communal clashes.
Other measures that Dhuol has introduced include:
- Warning the commissioners of all eight counties that they will be sacked if they fail to confront cattle raiders and bring them to justice.
- Threatening to close Lakes State’s Legislative Assembly if politicians continue to debate political issues.
- Banning alcohol from being sold in Lakes state apart from at six specific hotels.
- Requiring that all firearms in the state be registered.
GOVERNOR MISSES RUMBEK EVENT DUE TO INSECURITY
Meanwhile, Dhuol was forced to cancel a scheduled event with the Lakes State Youth Union (LSYU) in Rumbek on Saturday due to insecurity in Rumbek East county.
The long-awaited ceremony was initially supposed to take place in February but was postponed while the new governor attempted to address inter-communal violence within the state.
Apuk Rec, the union’s chairman confirmed that welcome preparations had been made at Akon Buio hall, but the governor failed to show up to meet over 100 youth leaders who had gathered to hear his address.
“We were told that [the] governor received [an] urgent phone call in Rumbek East
county where insecurity was rising”, Rec said.
He did not indicate when the event would eventually be held.