January 26, 2014 (RUMBEK) - Authorities in Rumbek, the capital of Lakes state have held in custody five influential youth members and a South Sudanese staff member of United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) since Monday January 20.
- Matur Chuot Dhuol was appointed as caretaker governor of Lakes state in January 2013 (ST)
The reason for their detention is unclear, as is whether they have been formally charged with a crime. It is illegal, under South Sudan’s constitution, to hold someone without charge for more than 24 hours.
The five youth arrested include, Rolando Kau Maker, Monyde Manyang, Meen Matur, Marier Mabany, Johnson Madol Andrew and Macieth Makur
Family members said the young men were arrested a week ago when uniformed officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of South Sudan police came to their residence and ordered the men to go with them in a numberless car.
The wife of one of the arrested men told Sudan Tribune: "They are people from CID, I know some of them. They arrive and they order my husband to go with them. I asked them what is the matter but they reply me with silence."
She said that she followed her husband to Rumbek Central police station on Monday but said that he was transferred to offices of the South Sudan National Security Services where he been kept ever since.
"I continue to visit him and yet no charges [have been] brought against them", she said .
A senior CID officer in Lakes State told Sudan Tribune on Sunday afternoon that they were acting under instruction of Lakes state’s military caretaker governor, Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol.
"We are just imposing the order or instruction" he said on condition of anonymity. "We are being order to do so from above, if you need clarification, just contact [the] governor for details. We arrested them and that is all” said officer.
However, a close aide of the governor denied Dhuol had ordered the arrests. Governor Dhoul, he said, was busy attempting to address the insecurity in state caused by the presence of soldiers who rebelled from the South Sudanese army and were attempting to pass through Lakes in to Unity state, one of the focal points of rebellion.
The senior aide told Sudan Tribune that the "Governor did not order any arrest. What I know is that Governor is engaged in greater Yirol counties to track down those rebel deserters."
Some civilians and officials in Lakes state accuse the caretaker governor, who was appointed a year ago by president Salva Kiir after his elected predecessor was sacked. Duol’s critics say he rules South Sudan’s central state with an iron fist and regularly violates the state and national constitution.
The governor has also accused citizens who criticise his administration of being supporters of Riek Machar, the former Vice President who since mid-December has been leading a rebellion against Kiir’s government.
On Monday 20 January the Union of Lakes State Students said that 101 of the 474 students from Lakes state who are studying abroad with government support have not received their allowances since December.
The students, who are studying at various universities in East Africa, have launched a fresh complaint to South Sudan’s central government accusing the Lakes State governor of undermining promises of education funding made during the 2010 elections.
The UN mission in the country has not publicly commented on the arrest of its staff.