August 7, 2014 (JUBA) – A number of South Sudanese army officers have reportedly been place under house arrest at various locations for reasons yet to be established, military sources have told Sudan Tribune.
- Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA)
Lt. Col. Lual Bol Kuan and Major Ngong Mou Deng are reportedly among several military officers in detention since May, with the former said to have been arrested on 10 May after being recalled from the frontline in the Paloich area of South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.
Sources further claimed the army chief of staff, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, ordered Kuan’s arrest allegedly on recommendations from the deputy of the sixth infantry division commander, Maj. Gen. Gregory Basilli, an in-law to South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir.
“His wife delivered and was not allowed to see the new born child since he was arrested on 10 May. The children are suffering from many things and we actually do not know what he has done because he himself has not been informed of the cause. We only hear that Maj. Gen Gregory Basilli reported him to the chief of staff Gen.Paul Malong Awan, who later ordered his recall from the frontline and was arrested on arrival,” a member of Kuan’s family told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
“He was in Guel Guk in Poloich area when he was recalled in May. From the airport he was taken straight into the detention where he remained until today. No hearing has ever been made,” added the relative.
Various conflicting accounts, on the other hand, surround reasons for Deng’s arrest. For instance, while some sources attributed it to the release of civilians arrested in the military barrack by the head of the military police force in the capital, Juba, others claimed it was on suspicion that he planned to join rebellion under Gen. Dau Aturjong.
Some military sources claim Deng’s arrest was “politically” motivated, an account the latter believes in.
“What they tell people is not what they tell me and the family members. They have never told us the truth. To the relatives and members of the public, they say I am arrested for administrative issues which they do not explain. To other colleagues, they say I was planning to rebel. And to some other people who want to know why I have been arrested for such a long time; they say I released civilians arrested in military barrack,” the detained officer told Sudan Tribune last week.
“So you find that there is no case for my arrest. I just see that it is politically motivated arrest,” he added.
But when contacted by relatives, the army chief of staff, said the two officers “were involved in cases of indiscipline”, prompting their confinement. He did not, however, elaborate further on the matter.
In separate meetings with relatives of the two officers, Awan reportedly said it was normal in any country to hold people accountable within a system.
The South Sudanese army spokesperson, Col. Phillip Aguer, declined to comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed military reports indicate several officers have also been arrested in Wunyiik, the third division infantry headquarters in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.