April 11, 2014 (WULU) – The commissioner of Wulu county in South Sudan’s Lakes state briefly arrested five police officers and his bodyguards following a shooting incident, which occurred during a wedding ceremony in the area.
- Wulu county commissioner Benjamin Akol Muorwel (ST/File)
Commissioner Benjamin Akol Muorwel was early this week embroiled in a controversy after residents of Wako villages in the Domulot, Domanjo and Tonjo bomas (districts) questioned his decision to marry a 17-year-old school girl.
The ceremony, which was interrupted by gunfire, prompted area residents to run for safety, with Akol briefly detaining five senior cops, later released without any charges.
Multiple sources confirmed to Sudan Tribune that Akol had indeed arrested the officers, but pressure from his in-laws forced him to release them.
“Five people were arrested in Wulu county in police prison but they were released,” said a police officer temporarily detained following the incident.
“No charges yet, but he [commissioner] said when his in-laws leave county, he will re-arrest them and carryout investigation on what cause shooting,” added the officer.
Those arrested included Wulu forest department inspector Peli Macharanga, along with his private secretary to the commissioner, Manyiel Akon, bodyguards John Zonga and Adiel Nang and prison officer Lulu Rec.
The local community also accused the commissioner of illegally providing alcohol to his in-laws and relatives to celebrate the marriage, flouting a state-wide alcohol ban imposed in Lakes state’s eight counties by caretaker governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol after his appointment in January last year.
The commissioner is believed to have spent more than SSP 15,000 (about $2,800) on the wedding, with eyewitnesses alleging he supplied five jerrycans of Siko, a locally made brew, as well 20 crates of beer to his in-laws.
Governor Dhuol’s tough security measures and policies have made him increasingly unpopular in Lakes state, with repeated calls for him to step down.