August 3, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan government says its former political detainees should state their positions on the proposed deployment of foreign troops in the country.
- Former South Sudanese political detainees hold a press conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 13 February 2014 (Photo: IGAD)
“We have three [former detainees] who are with us here and whose position is not known clearly. You know who they are,” information minister, Michael Makuei Leuth told reporters in the capital, Juba.
According to the minister, some of the ex-detainees, including the ruling party’s former secretary general, Pagan Amum and former deputy defense minister, Majak D’Agot, who currently live outside the country, have publicly expressed support for military intervention.
“This monitory must clarify their position. We are not here for the game of seek and hide,” he said, referring to ex-detainees in Juba.
Mainly comprising of former ministers, the ex-political detainees were, during the mid-December 2013 outbreak of conflict, jailed for allegedly plotting to topple President Salva Kiir’s government.
The detainees were, however, released after spending four months in jail when government opted to withdraw charges against them.
When the transitional government was formed in April, three of the former political detainees joined cabinet. These were Deng Alor (foreign affairs), John Luk Jok (roads and transport) and Cirino Hiteng as deputy foreign affairs minister, before he was sacked.
The information minister said the former political detainees needed to have a unified position, warning that there was no “middle way.”
“You are either a bad or good boy, but it cannot be both,” he said.
South Sudanese has rejected suggestions by the regional bloc (IGAD) and African Union to send extra troops to support United Nations Mission in South Sudan with a new mandate to use force should any form of violence erupt in the young nation.
The information minister said some countries, he did not name, were championing regime change to install the ex-detainees into power.
“So they want to make sure those good boys are brought to power – not through election, but through creating problems,” he further observed.