April 2, 2014 (RUMBEK) – The recently appointed advisor for gender and human rights affairs in South Sudan’s Lakes state was severely beaten on Saturday after security agents raided her home as part of a weapons search.
- Adak Costa Mapuor, advisor for gender and human rights affairs in South Sudan’s Lakes state, was badly beaten by security officers during a weapons search at her home (ST)
Adak Costa Mapuor, who has attracted harsh criticism due to her stance on human rights and gender affairs, was allegedly beaten after her bodyguard was disarmed.
According to eyewitness accounts, Mapuor was beaten with a gun after she questioned why her bodyguard was being disarmed without prior warning from the governor. Security officers also reportedly threatened to kill her bodyguard during the incident.
Mapuor was evacuated on Sunday to Western Bahr el Ghazal state for medical treatment.
A family member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that this search was not a routine weapons search, accusing the government of deliberately targeting Mapuor, who has been an outspoken critic of caretaker military governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol’s administration and its track record on human rights.
The relative said about 300 security officers had surrounded Mapuor’s home after reportedly being instructed to search for weapons in the area.
Lakes state’s minister for information, Marik Nanga Marik, said that no official disarmament campaign had been announced by the state government and allegations Mapuor was beaten are being thoroughly investigated.
Mapuor has held a number of high profile government positions since the signing of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement in which the South seceded from the north, including state minister for physical infrastructure.
Traditional chiefs, students and activists have called on president Salva Kiir to remove Dhuol, who has proved unpopular due his harsh security measures. However, so far public demands have been overlooked.
Insecurity has been on the rise in Lakes state over the past week, with dozens of people killed in cattle raids and inter-clan clashes.
Police insist that young people and the wider public refuse to share information with them, blaming the poor relationship between the administration and the people of Lakes state.
Kiir appointed Dhuol about 14 months ago after removing his elected predecessor Chol Tong Mayay.
Under South Sudan’s constitution, an election should be held within 90 days should the president remove a governor. However, this has yet to occur in the country’s three states where governors were removed last year.