February 10, 2014 (RUMBEK) - A group of five influential youth activists in Lakes state were released on 7 February after being held without charge by South Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) since 20 January.
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.
The reason for their detention is unclear, as is whether they have been formally charged with any 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.
One the detainees, who asked not to be named, said that they were released on 7 February after governor Duol returned from Yirol West county.
“There is no charges being placed on us”, he told Sudan Tribune. “We insist to national security to show us their charges, but nothing [was] being displayed to us”.
Eventually the director of NISS told them “to go home”, he said.
Lakes state’s governor has also accused citizens who criticise his administration of being supporters of former vice-president Riek Machar, who has been leading a rebellion against the government of president Salva Kiir since mid-December.
South Sudanese civil society and activists have made several calls to President Kiir to remove the caretaker governor from power, but Kiir has so far overlooked the campaign.
Under South Sudan’s transitional constitution an election should have been held within three months of governor Dhuol’s appointment in January 2013 after his predecessor was sacked by the president.