December 16, 2013 (JUBA) – At least 10 South Sudanese officials, mainly ex-ministers, have been arrested in connection with what government says was a failed “coup attempt” in the capital, Juba.
- South Sudan president Salva Kiir sits in his office in Juba December 16, 2013 (Reuters/Hakim George)
Those arrested, the government website reported, include former ministers Oyay Deng Ajak, Gier Chuang Aluong, Majak D’ Agot, John Luk Jok, Cirino Hiteng, Kosti Manibe, Deng Alor and Madut Biar.
Also detained, according to the government spokesperson, are former Lakes state governor, Chol Tong Mayay and South Sudan’s ex-envoy Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth.
“Those who are still at large will be apprehended. According to our sources, some of them have moved out of Juba town towards the Terekeka areas, north of the capital Juba, probably with the intention of moving towards the base of Dr. Riek [Machar]”, Michael Makuei told a media briefing.
“Whether they will reach there is a situation that we will wait to see”.
He said five of those wanted, including Machar, remain at large. Others are former ministers, Alfred Ladu Gore, Pagan Amum, Adwok Nyaba and the ex-Unity state governor, Taban Deng Gai.
WARNINGS AGAINST ETHNIC VIOLENCE
Meanwhile, the government urged the public to desist from statements that seem to imply the violent clashes in and around Juba was a tribally-instigated.
Hilde F. Johnson, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General called on all South Sudanese and parties in the current situation to refrain from any community motivated violence.
“At a time when unity among South Sudanese is more needed than ever, I call on the leaders of this new country and all political factions and parties, as well as community leaders to refrain from any action that fuels ethnic tensions and exacerbates violence", Johnson said in a statement.
She had previously warned against any hate speech in relation to inter-communal violence in the country, amidst fears the violence could take an ethnic dimension.