October 9, 2013 (RUMBEK) - Authorities in Lakes state’s Yirol West county have released teachers and pupils who were detained following last week’s violence protest that resulted in the county commissioner’s office being destroyed.
- Part of the destroyed office of the Yirol West county commissioner in South Sudan’s Lakes state. Sept. 27, 2013 (ST)
The incident occurred after the national MP for the area, David Deng Athorbei, was prevented from addressing pupils at Yirol Boy’s Primary school by the county commissioner, Majak Ruei Angong.
The commissioner has come under pressure at a national and local level. Lakes state’s military caretaker governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol as criticised Angong for unlawfully detaining the students and teachers
On Friday Dhuol said the reason Athorbei was blocked from speaking at the third anniversary of Yirol Boy Primary school, where he was invited as a chief guest, was "personal" between the MP and the commissioner.
Speaking on Tuesday, commissioner Majak expressed his frustration that the “rule of instruction and verbal communication orders” from the Lakes state government had put him at loggerheads with the powerful MP.
The group of people released includes 11 teachers, 2 pupils who were detained during a protest in Yirol Boy primary school that resulted into commissioner’s office being destroyed.
Commissioner Majak was speaking on Tuesday during a meeting attended by chiefs, women unions, youth representatives, the county police inspector and members of National Intelligent Security Services (NISS).
He said that he "will not distance myself from this case so much – I will not distance myself like [Lakes state’s governor] Matur Chut Dhuol.”
Majak alleged that the Awerial County commissioner, David Mayom Riak, was sacked by the caretaker governor because he refuses prevent MP Athorbei traveling to Juba visa the Awerial road.
“Matur as you know ruling state with instruction, he phone ex-commissioner Mayom and told him to arrest MP David Deng Athorbei but Mayom decline to impose the order. Then Mayom got fire. I will not distance myself very far but school of Yirol Boy primary school have to be reopen immediately tomorrow morning and youth leader including headmaster will remain under house arrest” Majak told the senior county representatives in the meeting.
Last week, 23 people including administrators and teachers were arrested in Yirol West County after the commissioner’s office was attacked last Friday.
Majak Ruei Angong ordered the arrests when he saw his office being destroyed by pupils from Yirol Boy Primary school.
The commissioner denied reports that those arrested had been tortured while in custody but then said that if any incidence of maltreatment had occurred it had not been ordered or sanctioned.
Yirol Boy Primary school complained that their school lost 15,000 SSP when the ceremony concluded without the available food being consumed as the guest of honour, David Deng Athorbei, left the county headquarters after being denied a chance to address the pupils.
Commissioner Majak said that he would reimburse the losses to school management but declined to indicate when this would happen. He indicated that a bull will be bought to compensate the meat of the wasted bull.
“I will provide another bull instead of your bull that was being wasted and a fresh party for third school anniversary will be done.”
The governor of Lakes state has denied ordering the arrests in Yirol West county.
Matur Chuol Dhuol broke his silence on Friday after three top security officers were dispatched from the capital, Juba, to investigate the incident.
Dhoul later formed a five-member committee headed by his minister for local government and law enforcement agency, Benjamin Laat Mathou to probe the matter.
Despite the governor efforts, however, the presence of the three security officers puts to doubt the credibility of Dhoul’s investigation team.