December 6, 2013 (JUBA) - Government agents in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal have arrested officials opposed to holding a demonstration backing the state governor, Paul Malong Awan.
- General Paul Malong Awan, Governor of South Sudan’s State of Northern Bahr el Ghazal (Source: paulmalongforgovernor.org)
It is alleged that civil servants, teachers, students and traditional were forced to attend the rally on Friday which comes days after calls for governor Awan to be removed by some members of the Aweil community.
Local politician, Charles Malong with about five others was picked out of the rally authorities after disagreeing with the state’s youth and sports minister, Mareng Chuor Deng over whether young people should have been forced to attend.
Anyuon, who has held many local positions, contested the 2010 Northern Bahr el Ghazal parliamentary elections as an independent candidate after failing to become the candidate of the ruling SPLM. He lost the seat to the current state minister of parliamentary affairs, Ernest Mangok.
Several other people are reported to have been later collected from their houses and taken to an undisclosed location outside Aweil town.
“Charles Malong Anyuon was picked out and bundled away with five others at a rally today. He is arrested for disagreeing with minister of youth and sports, Mareng Chuor Deng. Thirty two others were also collected from their houses and driven to undisclosed locations outside Aweil town. We don’t know where but I believe they are taken to Pariak, an illegal and private place the governor had created in his area as a prison for his critics, which is unacceptable”, Deng Bol, a relative of Anyuon said.
Bol claimed Anyuon had asked the minister about why young people and students were forced to attend the rally supporting the governor.
“What happened was an implementation of the project of government through the minister of local government, Adup Achier, who on Wednesday and Thursday sent out vehicles to all the counties to forcefully collect chiefs and government employees to come and stage [Friday’s] demonstration”, he said.
Sources in Aweil told Sudan Tribune that vehicles with amplified microphones and speakers drove through Aweil town on Thursday evening, calling on the residents to go to freedom square for “very important public address” the next day.
A local MP who wished to remain anonymous claimed that the Aweil town Mayor, Atak Longar and minister of local government, Adup Achier, were ordered by the governor to instruct chiefs and local administrative officers come out to protest against the calls for the governor’s removal.
"The chiefs and government employees were forced to come out because they were told plainly that they would be removed from their positions if they fail to act," the legislator said.
He added that government employees were warned that they would be denied their salaries and loose their jobs if they did not attend.
Teachers were also told to bring their students, according to the MP. "Everybody was forced", he said.
No statement has been release by the Northern Bahr el Ghazal government on the demonstration. State ministers contacted by Sudan Tribune on Friday neither confirmed or denied that people were forced and coerced into attending the rally.