March 26, 2014 (RUMBEK) – South Sudan’s Lakes state arrested 30 young men on Monday night who had been watching football on a television in a market in Rumbek, the state capital. The legal basis for the arrests is unclear.
The men were sentenced the next day to either one or two months in prison but some were able to pay between 200 and 100 South Sudanese pounds to be released on bail.
Upon their release many of the young men said that Maboric Rumbek town court, which is run by Judge Dhelbang Makuer, was acting under the influence of caretaker Governor Matur Chut Dhuol.
An activist told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that Rumbek town court had acted outside the Lakes state and South Sudanese interim constitutions.
The majority of young men were captured as they walked home after watching the football on television at public gatherings near the centre of town.
South Sudanese activist Moses Ater described the arrests as a "setback and assault on freedom of youth civilisation".
"There is no point you arresting someone who did not committed any mistakes and sentence him for two month with [a] fine” he said.
According to an officer in the Criminal Investigation Department of the South Sudan police in Rumbek, their forces "imposed" an order but he did not define who gave them the order or under which law they were operating.
The police officer, who did not want to be named, told Sudan Tribune that the 30 youth who were arrested spent one day in Rumbek Central police station before being sent to court.
"Those who were lucky bailed themselves out" he said.
Over the last week insecurity has increased in Lakes state with dozens of people being killed in cattle raids and other violence between rival clans.
Lakes state deputy Governor Santo Dumic Koric, said that "with all details reported of separate inter-clan clashes, we have recorded 95 people killed."
Lakes state’s authorities have become increasingly isolated since caretaker military governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol took over in January 2013 after his elected predecessor was removed by President Salva Kiir.
Lakes state’s police insist that young people and wider public refuse to share information with them. They often blame the poor relationship between the administration and the people of Lakes state.
Last Monday night, 68 cows were being raided by an unknown group inside Rumbek town but locals refused to share information with police to show were the cows were been move by raiders.