January 31, 2014 (RUMBEK) - Authorities in South Sudan’s Lakes state are still holding five influential youth activists who have been held since January 20 without charge by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).
Lakes state’s military caretaker Governor, Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol, denies ordering their arrest but an officer from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Rumbek has told Sudan Tribune on condition of anonymity that they were acting on his orders.
One of the detainees told the press on Friday said that despite being detained for over 10 days that had not been charged with any crime.
He said that they were being forced to sleep on the floor without mattresses but added that the prison warden had allowed family and friends to visit them.
"Our health is good" said the inmate who got access to a mobile phone on Friday.
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 young men who have been arrested include, Rolando Kau Maker, Monyde Manyang, Meen Matur, Marier Mabany, Johnson Madol Andrew and Macieth Makur.
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.
Civil society and activists have made several calls to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit to remove the caretaker Governor from power but Kiir has so far overlooked the campaign.
Under South Sudan’s transitional constitution a by-election should have been held within three months of Governor Dhuol’s appointment in January 2013 after he predecessor was sacked by the President Kiir.