December 16, 2013 (JUBA) – A former minister in South Sudan’s government has been arrested for instigating the alleged coup attempt in the country’s capital, Juba.
- South Sudan’s former minister Gier Chuang Aluong (MDI)
Gier Chuang Aluong was reportedly arrested on Monday morning by security personnel supposedly acting under the directive of the country’s president, Salva Kiir.
Kiir told a press conference that the limited fighting in the military barracks in Juba was an attempted coup and vowed to bring to justice those responsible.
The president directly accused South Sudan’s former vice-president, Riek Machar, who is currently in Juba, of having soldiers allied to him attack the military barracks.
The president said those involved in the attack would be pursued and vowed to ensure they faced justice, if found guilty.
However, it remains unclear how the ex-minister was directly connected to the said coup attempt.
Aluong, who hails from Pigi county in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, served as the national minister for interior prior to the country’s independence and later as minister for roads and bridges in the new government formed after July 2011.
He recently allied to Machar’s group that has been openly critical of Kiir’s leadership style.
Meanwhile, a number of key South Sudanese officials have reportedly been arrested for allegedly instigating fighting which erupted on Sunday night within the presidential guard forces, bringing business to a standstill on Monday.
“A number of the disgruntled soldiers and politicians who lured them into shooting have been found. They are now under our control. It was a clear coup but we have foiled it”, a military source told Sudan Tribune on Monday.
He did not, however, disclose where the suspects are being held nor their exact number.
Majak D’ Agoot, a former deputy defence minister, confirmed that he had been told to remain in his house until he is picked up, but did not know when this would happen.
“I have been informed that they (government agents) would come to [take] me. I have been waiting but I don’t know when they will come”, D’ Agoot told Sudan Tribune.
He said three officials had so far been arrested, but their whereabouts remained unknown.
“I am ready. I have asked that the house be opened to them when they come. This is why I have been in the house. They have already taken General Oyai Deng, Gier Chuang and Dr Cirino Iteng”, he said.
“The whereabouts of [suspended secretary-general] Pagan Amum and the others remain unclear. Nobody knows where he is at the moment, but I think he has been taken”, he added.
The whereabouts of General Alfred Lado Gore, a former environment minister, Chol Tong Mayay, former Lakes state governor, as well as Unity state’s former governor, Taban Deng Gai and ambassador Ezekiel Gatkuoth also remain unclear.