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South Sudan releases seven political detainees

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January 29, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government announced on Wednesday the release of seven of the 11 political detainees, despite mounting pressure from the international community and right activists for all to be freed.

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Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta (C) receives seven of the 11 political leaders accused of plotting a failed military coup in South Sudan in December, in Nairobi on 29 January 2014. Also pictured is retired Kenyan general Lazaro Sumbeiywo (second right) and director-general of Kenya’s National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) Michael Gichangi at far right (Photo: AP/Kenyan presidency)

South Sudan’s minister of Justice, Paulino Wanawilla Unago, confirmed the release of the seven detainees to Sudan Tribune, saying all had since left the country amid safety fears but will return to face trial.

“They (the detainees) left the country because some people have expressed serious concerns about their safety if they continue to stay here. Also one of presidents from our neighbouring countries had promised to allow them stay in his country and would bring them when there is a need for further investigation, especially if they are found later to have participated in the failed coup attempt”, he said.

Unago declined to reveal the name of the country which had offered political asylum to the detainees, although former cabinet affairs minister Deng Alor Kuol confirmed to Sudan Tribune that he and the six other detainees had arrived in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, as it is confirmed by the Kenyan presidency.

Kuol was released along with former minister of telecommunications and postal services Madut Biar Yel, former youth minister Cirino Iteng, former finance minister Kosti Manibe, former roads and transport minister Gier Chuang Aluong, former justice minister John Luk Jok, former Lakes state governor Chol Tong Mayay.

Those who remain in detention include Pagan Amum Okiech, former secretary-general of the ruling SPLM party, Oyai Deng Ajak, former minister for national security, Majak D’Agoot, former deputy minister of defence and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, former South Sudanese ambassador to the United States.

In a statement to Kenyan state media upon the group’s arrival in Nairobi, Jok said that as leaders of the young nation they were “ashamed” of the quarrelling over issues which could have been resolved peacefully, referring to the political row within the ruling party that led to the violence.

TREASON CHARGES

Their release comes as South Sudan government on Tuesday slapped treason charges against seven of 13 senior politicians implicated in last year’s alleged coup attempt in the country’s capital, Juba, including former vice-president Riek Machar.

Unago told reporters on Tuesday that the findings of an investigation into the role of the detainees in an alleged coup attempt had found that the group were behind a plot to remove Kiir from power through military means.

“Anybody who intends to change a constitutional government or to suspend the constitution or abrogate the constitution by force commits treason”, Unago said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Kuol expressed his gratitude to those who had campaigned for their release.

“We recognise and appreciate all the efforts and pushes you made for our release. I also would like our religious leaders to pray for country and the safety of those comrades who have not yet been released”, he said.

WASHINGTON WEIGHS IN

The US state department welcomed the release of the seven detainees by the government in Juba, but reiterated its demand for the release of all those still in detention in order to ensure their participation in the political process.

“This is an important step towards an inclusive political dialogue under the auspices of IGAD”, said state department spokesperson Jen Psaki, adding, “We urge the Government of South Sudan to release the remaining four”.

She also called on South Sudan’s political leaders to work together to fully implement the cessation of hostility agreement and the agreement on political detainees, which provides that the two warring parties acknowledge the role that the political detainees can play in the settlement of the conflict.

“And as per the 23 January agreement on the status of the detainees signed by the government and the opposition, the expeditious release of the detainees is critical to moving that piece forward. So that’s where our focus is”, Psaki added.

STICKING POINT

The status of the political detainees proved a major stumbling block during peace negotiations between the South Sudanese government and rebel forces loyal to Machar.

Despite mounting international pressure, Juba steadfastly refused to release the senior political officials, many of whom were sacked in July last year after becoming increasingly critical of president Salva Kiir Mayardit’s leadership style.

Both sides finally signed a ceasefire agreement on 23 January in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, after rebels dropped a precondition on releasing the detainees.

Fighting first broke out between rival groups within the presidential guard in the capital, Juba, in mid-December before spreading to oil-producing areas, where pro-Machar forces and government troops loyal to Kiir have been battling for control of key areas.

Thirteen senior politicians were initially detained in connection to the alleged coup plot, with two others released in December.

(ST)

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  • 30 January 05:51, by omoni jr.

    Dinka government is really funny

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    • 30 January 05:54, by omoni jr.

      when we said all of them we mean all 11 detainees,not just 7 , where are four detaineee, Dinka gov’t is a big joke.

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      • 30 January 06:07, by Mi diit

        Incompetent kiir and his justice minister stooge are confused thugs. What will you do with heroes in jail when you don’t have a single proof for their alleged crime? Release them without wasting time. Well, I hope the negotiations in Addis Ababa will be funny this time. Turn the tables!!!

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        • 30 January 06:19, by Mi diit

          Mama Rebecca Nyandeng clearly stated that Kiir has been talking of coups, coups, coups since the death of John Garang. Actually it was the number six coup attempt according to poor kiir. Nyandeng said Kiir simply panicked when Dr. Machar and the rest did not turn up for a second day meeting, so he (Kiir) thought they were planning a coup, and then ordered to disarm Nuer soldiers. That is all!!!

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          • 30 January 10:31, by Bungachier 50

            Yaaah Midiit!!.. Leave your fucken Nyandeng. she is a leaving dead. Look at her diminishing eyes first.

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        • 30 January 10:22, by Bungachier 50

          YOU! US, you have nothing to do with our affairs. Did South Sudan one take urge you to release those Thousands of Criminals in Guantanamo Bay, the Worse prison on the Planet. Stop! your hypocrisy. The remaining four must stay in the Prison till further Notice. Power is not grabbed by force you fools.

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      • 30 January 06:10, by Big Boy

        Omoni
        Go and make your own govmt of food-lover somewhere else if you don’t believe in this gorvmt..otherwsise you will ended up crying out for the helpless.you have heard they are three categories,A,B & c, so those four detainess are in Category C and your father Riak Category A, so what do you want Kiir govmt to do for a&c while are criminal acts? go to the hell with empty brains.

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        • 30 January 06:14, by omoni jr.

          Big mama or girl
          For your information, am not from Nuer,am south sudanese ,I know you always called Nuer foodlover or whatever the names when things get ugly. you are a weak and coward jenge

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          • 30 January 06:28, by Mi diit

            omoni jr.
            Those confused thugs don’t understand that their leadership is damaged beyond repair, OVER! Wise people who analyze the situation know that the end of this conflict is end of kiir’s leadership. No more AMNESTY by poor kiir EVER again! Let him just count how many fingers he is left to count before he is declared OBSELETE.

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          • 30 January 07:09, by Big Boy

            ha ha ha ha ha ha Omoni i know you are not nuer but you are still food-lover from south sudan deny himself not be.anyhow you are always igonre this govmt,but there’s no way out in this country thank to accepted the rules of Dinka’s and or who ever going to be next president a part of your cowadice Riak..have a good day and see you in court room next month’s before the judge.

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      • 30 January 06:11, by omoni jr.

        Agustine Deng said he defended salva kiir because he is Dinka not because he is the president of south sudan. "I defended Dinka interest",said Agustino Deng. Poor leadership from the village will never let this jungle prosceed a head in term of development.

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      • 30 January 06:11, by Chol A.

        Omoni jr it very clear and sound neither of whom remain in prison cannot be realise. Please there is evidence of coup attemp plan by dr r splinter and his thug if he deny this, why is he still on run? Dr R splinter must face justice by any mean.

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        • 30 January 06:21, by omoni jr.

          Chol A.
          what are evidences for failed a coup attempt??
          All internation world including neighbors except kiir’s man M7 condemned kiir for dividing the nation,causing uncountable death,torched cities.

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      • 30 January 06:14, by Malakal county Simon

        Omoni Jr
        Kiir judiciary is partial, but those of Pagan, Oyay, Dr Majak and Ambassador Lol, all MUST be release immediately as they were part of the agreement signed last week by the both parties..... Otherwise if they are not release as it was agreed by the both parties, the ongoing peace talk will collapse, and illegal president will be blame for violating the cease-fire agreement!!!!

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        • 30 January 06:27, by Malakal county Simon

          Chol A
          You asked a very silly and stupid, question that’s I never heard before.... Why is he still on the run? Lol! let’s me ask this simple question; if some one came to your house with gun and want to killed you, would you wait to be killed with your arms cross on your chest?? Or would you run away to save your life??

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          • 30 January 06:34, by Malakal county Simon

            Illegal president must also be charge with treason, and he must resign. Otherwise no peace in South Sudan....

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          • 30 January 08:13, by Chol A.

            Malakal nyagat, let me point it out to you. Nuer has alway ignored the fact but Riak has plan coup and all Nuer tribes know very well. Please machar brain wash you with false because nobody went to his house, the security went after he left juba while his forces targeted mean military places around juba n now denying it that it not the coup? To be sincere nothing new we accept your drama of war

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      • 30 January 06:55, by Below the Law

        Omon jr,You used to deny that you are a Nuer. What u are supporting is any thing that Nuer support like spoilng the country, making senseless rbellions, hating kiir for no reason, loving Riek for no reason.look at my name l am a nationalist. Look at your name you are tribalist. Besides you have committed a serious mistake of choosing an Acholi name to confuse s.sdanese when in real sense you r nue

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      • 30 January 07:10, by Mapuor

        All Nyagaats should know that rebellions will never bring them something good.Looting,raping,destruction of physical infrastructure and mass displacement will never bring you to power.How is the bush now?Hahahah no toilet papers.Hope mosquito nets are available.Ngaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahh

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    • 30 January 08:20, by Johndumo14

      Reward.
      3 farmers in the 3 states ,bor,malakal,bentiu are offering
      a reward of to tatal of 75 cows 50 goats,and 4 donkeys for any soldier who shot the first bullet to kill or woundimg Dr Riel Machar.This man has cause us misery ,loss of thousands of cattle,ditructions of properties,death of our loved ones,
      those who are still alive will start from zero (o)

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  • 30 January 06:28, by 4Justice

    The UN is doing quiet investigations to get the clear picture of what exactly transpired. If it is confirmed that the government “cooked up a coup” to “eliminate” party members, then top government officials are headed to the ICC to answer for the massive killings that have rocked the country.

    http://chimpreports.com/index.php/mobile/regional-news/s-sudan/16486-pagan-for-treason-as-machar-faces-icc.html

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    • 30 January 06:31, by Mi diit

      This is exactly what will happen to those criminal thugs. They will all face the ICC starting with their illiterate dumb Kiir and his gay husband Yoweri Museveni who now rules over Kiir.

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    • 30 January 08:24, by Tibs

      Mr. Psaki
      we don’t want your aids or fake Internation interest in our nation, our national security threat is more imperative than all, we live for decades without $$$$. Please don’t inciting ethnics violent Riak Machar himself have pend crimes he stanch in ninths target of non-Nuer (particular minority Dinka sub-clan in Upper Nile).

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  • 30 January 06:41, by Whortti Bor Manza

    This is a joke. This stooge of President Kiir called Paulino Wanawilla is kidding. You cannot simply release people who have committed high treason by grossly violating the constitution. This was a pre fabricated lies and distortion orchestrated by Kiir to assert himself in power for life. Thanks to UPDF, Kiir would now be in the dust bin of history. Bravo comrades, enjoy your liberty.

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    • 30 January 06:52, by omoni jr.

      Brother Wortti Bor Banza.
      u kocked the point sir

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  • 30 January 06:52, by Axios

    Are these the actual words? "but reiterated its demand for the release of all the political detainees to ensure their participation in the political process." What nation can make demands of another sovereign nation?

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    • 30 January 15:19, by Bungachier 50

      There you are Axios. US must be careful. We are not their kids to play about with.

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  • 30 January 07:05, by Mapuor

    Congratulations Mr. President. Those thugs should know that they have lost face in the country. We know most of the coup plotters are pathological liars and would always insist on denying the coup. All other charges that were pending such as that of embezzlement should be included when their trial commences.

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    • 30 January 07:29, by allan

      looks at food lover u guys like u been buried and come back to life again u guys should have made good decision follow better nuer not riak type i used to tell my nuer friends that riak will never lead s sudan may be some nuer guy that u guys dont know will lead later mark my word

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  • 30 January 08:03, by Jalaby


    Look at these poor people!!
    Is this the country that you dreamed to have and fought Arab/Jalaba for long?
    Ironically, now you guys will live in exile and can’t put your foot in S Sudan soil again!!

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    • 30 January 08:10, by Jalaby

      Well, never be mistaken or fool yourself and put the blame on Mr. Kiir, you guys should blame yourself and blame your closed mentality, blame your locked country, blame your tribalism that guides you blindly with hatred, blame your behavior that can’t accept to live with a person who has different thought and believe than you,blame the west and America who separated you

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      • 30 January 08:18, by Jalaby

        from Sudan and then left you stranded, hungry, poor, very sick and orphan, Mr. Kiir is innocent because he is just a tool but never the real cause, anyone (Mr. X) who is sitting on his chair for sure will do the same thing!
        People like Deng Alor and Pagan Amom should never put their dirty foot in Sudan either, you know those people were grown and studied in the north,

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        • 30 January 08:25, by Jalaby

          and instead of paying back to Sudanese people the kindness they distributed their hatred and completely poisoned the relation between the people of north & south and should be blamed for the problematic situation that SPLA/M and NCP went through after CPA was signed during the national government in Khartoum and before the referendum!

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          • 30 January 09:04, by Jalaby

            Well, now on,Mr. Deng Alor is required to defend his Abyei case from exile (he can use the remote control,you know we live in open sky now and everything is possible lol)!
            I guess Mr. Deng Alor will stay ideal and without a meaningful job for the rest of his life, and since he can’t live in the south because he is worried about his life, what type of struggler is that?!

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            • 30 January 09:12, by Jalaby

              I suggest to Mr. Deng Alor to spare his life and flee the whole region and join his family in USA and get benefit of his high body tall and be US basket ball player,if he becomes star then he will be very rich,but never mind because the oil money that he stole and transferred to his secret accounts in Europe will make him live as a king for the rest of his life! LOL LOL

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      • 30 January 08:18, by omoni jr.

        Jalaby.
        some of the things you said back the days are coming to the lights /true, we as south sudanese, we do not have identity at all.

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        • 30 January 09:25, by Jalaby

          Omoni jr
          Absolutely, the south doesn’t have a unique identity as south by its own, but whether the southern elites like it or hate it, the south has no identity but only north identity!
          I’ll always respect people like Joseph Lagu and former Dinka Ngok chief Deng Majok because they were very honest and open minded and knew very well the south needs!

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  • 30 January 10:26, by Dr B2

    Kiir wants to kills those important men as he new Machar is coming up soon,as the 7 SPLM cadres are going to participate in Peac talk,Kiir Gov is shivering and will fall soon,his M7 so call troops are returning back to Uganda deserting seriously because were told that white Army are fighting using panga which they have smell now,Kiir kills 5,000 Nuer and still claiming to be a president shame on h

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  • 30 January 10:35, by Dr B2

    Kiir court release only 7 but he must release those four that he want to kill with his advisor Mr Tilar Riing Deng who said he will never leave Kiir untill he let him reach in a deep 80 meters hold then come out,because Tilar was his first enemy and again be come a close person to him that show the stupidity of mr kiir.

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  • 30 January 14:26, by Alfredo christiani

    Dr B 0 or whatever
    Shut your dirty mouth on Kiir goverment ,no away for food lover to join khartuom again like what they did in 1991 ,you either seek for political asylum or surender yourself to Juba ,hhhahahaha your soldiers died in good numbers and no money to feed them ,fools always die poor, what did you guys benefit now ?

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  • 30 January 20:24, by Dr B2

    Mr Sietani,what Kiir Gov do u dog mean? ur uncle whatever has has over just eat the blns stolen dollars for South Sudan oil,well our soldiers will fight for freedom like they way South Sudan fought for 49 years and we must achieve,not Nuer only are fighting ur uncle shaking Gov many tribes including many fighters from Dinka who fade up with Kiir and M7 leader ship.

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  • 31 January 00:18, by Tango Alpha

    Both of them will never dream about leadership any more, because it’s not every time they do something and they can be forgive. No not at all, these people here were the one in the ruling party SPLM/government and they were also the one massing it up by all mean of mass, corruption and too many blame among themselves. After all they decided to kill Southern Sudanese, however, enough is enough.

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