August 1, 2014 (JUBA) – An unidentified gunman shot and injured the head of South Sudan’s civil society alliance, Deng Athuai, on Friday, forcing several people to flee the crime scene for safety.
- South Sudan civil society alliance chairperson Deng Athuai Mawiir (Credit: Radio Tamajuz)
Eyewitnesses say Athuai was shot in the thigh at South African park at around 8.30pm (local time) as he left the place for his hotel in the capital, Juba.
He was rushed to Juba teaching hospital after the incident, described as “unfortunate” by close relatives.
This is the second attempt on Athuai’s life after he was first kidnapped at gunpoint in from the Juba-based Nile Beach hotel where he resided in 2011.
“This is [an] unfortunate development. Deng Athuai is a very respectful person. He is someone who is objective and polite and I don’t know why this is happening,” presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told Sudan Tribune after confirming the Juba shooting.
Ateny stressed the government would do its best to identify the culprit and establish the cause of the targeted shooting even though it was not fatal.
“The assailant has not been apprehended. The person just disappeared and nobody knows where this person had gone,” said Deng Acuil, an eyewitness who was at the scene told Sudan Tribune Friday.
“We were all shock[ed] by the incident. Nobody had ever thought such a thing would happen,” he added.
Community Empowerment for Progress Organiaation (CEPO), a South Sudanese civil society entity said the government should immediately investigate the shooting of the renowned activists.
"It is a shocking and unfortunate situation that now activists are targeted by armed person. CEPO believes that our government is capable and should take this case seriously till the person or people behind the plan of taking Deng Athuai away are held accountable in the court of law," partly reads CEPO’s statement to Sudan Tribune on Saturday.
"This is the moment that all South Sudanese should for working for peace not taking away lives of person or people. This time, we are demanding accountability on this case," it adds.
"This practice sends strong messages to activists across the country that their lives are at risk".
Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding Friday’s attack, but are yet to establish a motive.
Athuai was vocal in his criticism of the different factions of South Sudan’s warring parties during the last round of negotiations in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. He accused the two warring parties, as well as the group of former detained leaders, of looting the country’s wealth and causing the current crisis.