Home | News    Thursday 9 October 2008

’Trousers’ arrests prompt Salva Kiir’s intervention in Juba


By James Gatdet Dak

October 7, 2008 (JUBA) – Local administrators in Juba arrested young women and men in town who wear very tight trousers, short mini-skirts and short T-shirts, describing these as indecent clothing.

The campaign resulted in a backlash from central figures in the government of Southern Sudan, including from President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who ordered the release of women arrested in Juba over the last two days.

The incident revealed areas of deep social strain and local concerns about new cultural influences.

Numerous young women were picked up by police officers and taken in the back of pickup trucks to a ’Public Order Court’ in the Malakia / Konyo Konyo Market district of Juba. Eyewitnesses described many women later leaving the premises in bloodstained clothing, showing what appeared to be clear signs of beating, according to the Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).

Local police said that the arrests were authorized by an order dated October 2, signed by Albert Pitia Redantore, the commissioner of Juba County, in which he banned "all bad behaviours, activities and imported illicit cultures of what is known as ’niggers’ in Juba County."

Southern Sudan’s capital for the last year has witnessed an influx of returning young people from northern Sudan and the diaspora, some importing foreign cultural practices and organizing themselves into groups labeled as ’negro’ or ’nigger’ groups.

Girls and boys as young as 12 years old participate in such groups in the town.

Anne Itto, deputy secretary general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), explains, "’Niggers’ is the perhaps unfortunate term being used by older generations in Juba to describe a section of Sudanese youth, which has adopted loosely Urban American/Jamaican modes of dress and behaviour. The term is pejorative, as the group has been anecdotally associated with criminal actions."

More than thirty youth were arrested and taken to police stations Monday as they were rounded up in the streets by the police, who accused them of not dressing in a decent manner and exposing their bodies.

In a telephone statement, Minister Luka Biong Deng noted that the controversial police action had originated at the local level, within Central Equatoria State, and that the State bore the responsibility for it.

The minister said that the president had ordered a "serious investigation" into the incident, and specifically into how the local county order had come to be issued. The legality of the order has subsequently been widely questioned. GoSS Minister of the Interior Paul Mayo Ace is reported to be heading the investigation into the matter.

GoSS Minister of Gender, Social Welfare and Religious Affairs Mary Kinden Akimbo criticized the order to arrest the young people, saying the issue needed to be carefully studied before taking any necessary decision.

"Decency is a subjective word … which one needs to first define to know what constitutes decency and what does not," she said.

Itto stated on behalf of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, "the women detained are all reportedly young. Contrary to suggestions that the action was part of a crackdown on foreign national sex-workers, at least a large proportion were reported to be Sudanese nationals. Some were said to be returning home from Church at the time of arrest and at least one described being forcibly detained whilst bathing her baby, putting the infant at risk of drowning."

Itto visited the United States in August as part of a senior SPLM delegation. "We are fortunate to have been invited by the two leading political parties," she told Sudan Tribune during the Democratic and Republican political conventions. "We met a number of people, including Susan Rice, Madeleine Albright and had conferences."

"The order is vague as to exactly what behaviors are being banned," Itto said on Monday, criticizing the local morality initiative.

Juba County Commissioner Redactor on Thursday also issued an order closing all bars from 10 p.m. until 5 p.m. the next day.


Daniel Van Oudenaren form Washington contributed to this story

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  • 9 October 2008 01:27, by HONEY

    what kind of disgrace is this?

    it is very unfortunate that police in southern sudan is allowed to act unlawfully by arresting, beating and even killing civilians. Are there laws that outlines what kind of dress code young people are to be seen it or not seen in? was there an announcement to make young people aware that the foreign culture they brought into the country is unacceptable? to make life easy the word nigga should be understood before rushhing to conclusions. it simply means Black and that’s what we are.

    to advice our government and lawmakers, we are southern sudanese not arabs so we are allowed to cover some parts of our bodies to suit civilisation or leave our bodies naked to follow what our ancestors did. i have never heard of a particular dress code in southern sudan. don’t people have better people to arrest than half naked 12 years old girls.

    i do not believe in muslim dressing rubbish. in every society you will find women who are modest, civilised or naughty and they should
    dress accordingly. we can’t all be the same, how will men tell the difference between a sex worker and a normal modest women?


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    • 9 October 2008 10:11, by Mr Point

      The Police should deal with crime, not with fashion. Is all the serious crime in Juba dealt with?

      The Police who did this beating should be punished.

      The Commissioner should be sacked for making bad law.

      The Police and the way they work should be investigated.

      Why no interview with Albert Pitia REdantore? And a picture of what he is wearing?

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  • 9 October 2008 02:29, by Yong Kuai

    Is good that GOSS ministers intervened in this matter. A dress code is not associated with crime if crime activities are not recorded in contrary to how some one dress up.

    What Commissioner Pitia should remember is that, some of these young people were arrested on their way from church, and there is no where on this earth where criminals go to church instead of persueing their crime activities.

    Dressing style is not a government role, it parents’ responsibilities to make sure that their kids go to schools while dressing appropraitely. If government is to take parent responsibilties, then what will parents do?

    Pitia, if you don’t want a nigger style dressing in Juba, you should provide public education in order for the community to know negatives assocaited with that dress code. Is not a good dressing style I believe, but arresting innocent kids is inappropraite enough.

    Remember South Sudan is openning up for an international tourism very soon I believe. What will you do for an American tourist visiting Juba to see animals in South Sudan, and in this way he or she dress up as nigger? Will you arrest them, then you will answer arrest question to their home country, if you don’t, then you have violated your own laws

    Pitia dress code is a matter of choice, not an obligation.

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    • 9 October 2008 03:35, by Garang Ayang Kuoi

      It is unfortunate that the term "Nigger" is being used by those unfortunate kids who have no absolutely idea about what the term implies. I wouldn’t say the arrest was necessary, but I think that it is important the public in southern Sudan is inform by sound minded folks who knows what this unfortunate term means. It is one of the most degraing word in human history, and I believe that anyone who has a deep understanding of it can never use it. I hope the western cultures will not ripped out our valuable customs.

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  • 9 October 2008 04:21, by Grader

    Where is Mr "ILLOGIC"? By the way, who is the commissioner? Is he a cattlekeeper or ....

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    • 9 October 2008 06:20, by Axan


      I don’t see anything wrong with prohibiting such evolving behaviors by the youths so young as with the case of the detained ones in Juba. As so, people shouldn’t just jump start heaping blames on Juba’s commissioner without scrutinizing the forecasting effects of those youths’ activites on Juba streets. There is no smoke without fire. S/he, the commissioner has seen something in potential that would ruin the lives of those kids as per their ganging activities, thus he must stop it brfore things get too late...although the actions taken by the police was somewhat outrageous. Well, that is how policing is in Africa.


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  • 9 October 2008 06:09, by Dotcom

    My fellows country men where did commissioner of Juba got that law passed by the government to arrest teenagers in the way they dressed. What is government reaction to the torturing of children and why did commissioner start with teenagers in the city and not his own people naked in the village even without clothing.
    Dear mr commissioner you should consider Juba as the capital city that bring people from different cultural backgrounds to live in the city and wear in the way they feel, so you don’t have to force all people to dress like muslim including foreigners who are culturally oriented in their own ways of dressing. My God i didn’t believed our country still maintain corporal punishment as the only means of discipline. Iam impatient to wait for respond from president as he send his team of investiagtion for the decision made by commissioner and local polices as they must be accountable for that issue and i ppreciated the president for his aunthentic prompt.

    BY Dotcom

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    • 9 October 2008 06:50, by Axan


      I admire your response, but I doubt the approach that you seem to be ensuing. For one thing, you have raised the issue of multi-culturalism as basis for your argument against the move by the commissioner; Well, where in southern sudan, do we hear words like "nigger" as a cultural pride? I hope you are a S. sudanese.... that might be part of your tribal culture...not mind!. Secondly, it is a matter of common sense! how long ago did civilization befallen us as a nation, in order for you to sarcastically belittling the commissioner by refering to his naked tribe in the village? I hope you know this fact too: those naked villagers you scorn, wherever they are across S. sudan stay naked becuase the don’t have clothings, lest they will wear them.
      You are dead wrong on your assertion of what a capital city is supposed to be: a capital city is supposed to be a symbol of national integrity...not a place where unnecessary activities should be allowed to cropped the streets of the capital.

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    • 9 October 2008 06:56, by Hakuna Matata

      i can not see any wisdom in the actions of the police or the pathetic commissioner in detaining the young people in Juba. dressing style determine the the type of person one is at that paricular time of the dressing....you can dress in uniform to be a student or a police etc or dress in suits as an office worker or civilian clothings such as jeans which unfortunately lead you to your arrest in Juba.....i just don’t understand what type of clothing does the commisioner want? should everyone in Juba dress in suits or in uniform? people (black or white) wear tight jeans in New York or in London or in Sydney day and night and these cities have serious policemen than those of Juba but people dont get arrested or arrassed! so one just wonder which sort of civilization are we leading in southern sudan?

      i believe SPLA went into the bush for various reasons of which public arrassment is one of them, the freedom that has been brought to us entitle anyone to wear or speak whatever they like, even if it mean been sex workers...no big city that does not have public sex worker! it is also a business and Juba people would have to understand it.

      stop being backward...let live like a modern society or else it would be hard to catch up with 22nd century way of doing things.

      finally...someone asked where LOGIC BOY is....unfortunately our brother has fallen a victim of the circumstance, poor logic has been arrested too

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  • 9 October 2008 09:12, by Mabutu Malet

    Sorry to tortured youth!
    Please brothers and sisters take courage for it’s not the begining and end of difficulties in this restless world.

    This treatment of citizens was known to Arabs but not to extern it’s hand to this peace time. SPLM has brought every freedom (Freedom of speech, dressing,etc). This act of taking law to your own hand must be immediately stopped.

    Where is mr.Big Illogic boy who clam every thing good always come from Equartoria? See how your great Equartorians behave by bitting and tortured thier own brothers and sisters like animals. Is it the way you clam to be logic? Your are greater and bigger for nothing.

    Last time you talked bad words to Jonglei citizens when they were not bitten and tortured by the police. Why are you hidding not to commence ont this article when you are the first to commence on every article? You are the kind of a person that talks about bad things to others leaving his/her own bad on his face.
    Today it’s proved itself. You are fool and illogic to the name you ever clam if you don’t commend on this article, to tell them that what they did is not good and it is not necessary to be done to citizen of this lovely country South Sudan. Your commissioner with his police took law into their hand. this is punishable.

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  • 9 October 2008 09:56, by Deng Ateny

    This article raises eye brows on how our leaders operate. According to the article, Mr. Redantore, who supposedly authorized the arrest acted independent of the constitution and as a result has breached the public trust and failed his duties to act by the constitution.

    It is a failure of duty of care to the GoSS which entrusted him to implement laws only passed by the parliament and to the people to whom those laws protect. Contrary to GoSS blessing, the commissioner turned authoritative and made laws against his county’s citizens.

    Anthor irony is, such social laws are in contrary to either new Sudan vision or liberation theme, whichever you believe in. Southerners and other affected Sudanese spent two decades in wars and stagnation resulting in acquired social norms in the name of freedom only to realize dressing the way you like is indecent. There is only a fine line between personal right of freedom, hence it is always impossible to practice one’s rights without stepping over others’. However, it is dictatorial to impose your so call rights/believes on others especially when in power. Such incidents happen all the time but few makes it to the press, it is upto us including those who slipped to do the right thing, Iam condemning nobody but argue to think before we act, me included.

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  • 9 October 2008 10:18, by Hillary B.M.L,M

    Good,You see People,do not say the Commissioner is wrong or decided without GOSS consultation or High Level Authorities,and If I were him,sure I will go farther.The Reason is why People forgetting their real Life styles and adopt other people styles?Remember our Country is a Baby country and automatically adopted these Cultures Right now,what do you think would be in the coming future?Sure our Traditions and cultures will not exist.Finally the Commissioner had done good and let him go doing it to stop these bad PRACTICES

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  • 9 October 2008 10:58, by Monylok

    Thanks to our Brilliant President, Salva Kiir Mayardit for intervening in this illegal ACT by Police.
    This act is beyond primitivism. Juba Commissioner need to be taken to hospital for checkup, is he well?? Why does he ordered the rest of innocent South Sudanese Children. This happened also in Upper Nile last year and this is not acceptable in modern society. There are illicit arms in the houses every where in South Sudan and this should be the priority.
    GOSS should train Police to know their Jobs otherwise such brutal act will never end because they are Primitives.
    Where in our Constitution do you find dressing as a crime??!!

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    • 9 October 2008 12:00, by Singira Robert

      Hi all,

      This illegal act by Police of apprehending ladies and shaming our innocent girls and ladies in the Market should really be questioned by our Authorities. We thank the Governor if she has come to the rescue of the innocent ladies in SS.

      One qtn remains to be asked, what is bad behavior? Is bad behavior even worse than Swindling peoples’ Funds and denying peoples’ rights??????

      We have things we haven’t yet put right in Southern Sudan and at our State but the Police either by decree or on their own accord go one tearing women’s’ trousers in the market and reducing their human dignity in front of the mass.

      Does our police force know that women are mothers and should be handled with critical care????

      Are our Commissioners and Governors aware of this act or they are calling on mass resent to this barbaric act. I remember having witnessed one here in Yambio when some girls were arrested that they were putting on Trousers, Why??

      Could we organize to deliver good and have good governance and proper rule of law to our dear citizens.

      What have the Authorities in Police force done to Police men and soldiers who drink in army Uniforms falling on the roads and vomiting while walking and smelling nasty yet we say the girls have committed the worst crime for which they deserve hung.

      In Uganda, ladies wore trousers and short skirts but are well informed, not just educated but literate and doing exactly what the Government wants of them, sitting and working in big offices, yet in South Sudan we are NOT even near to their standard un till after 50 years to come.

      Can we send these Police who have nothing to do after the LRA so that they can help flash off the LRA bandits other than creating more atrocities on the already suffering people from man made ill actions and wills for powers.

      Dear leaders lets crack the Corrupt leaders, drunkard and un law full police force, train our Government officials and educate the Citizens to be responsible. Dressing doesn’t mater provided its descent and fitting in our Culture.

      Civilization has come and as far as we continue to beg and ask money from Western world, we won’t run away from the bit of Civilization.

      God bless South Sudan and its Authorities to know the right and wrong objectively.

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      • 9 October 2008 15:06, by Rombe Loro

        Dear all,
        Be realistic in your arguments and agree with the decision taken by the commissioner.If you would like to see for yourself how our young girls/boys behave nowadays just visit Enter Africa hotel,Executive Bar, New York Hotel etc...You will believe and endorse the commissioner’s decision.

        Bravo Mr.Pitya!continue with the way forward to discipline the young ones.
        Please,Pitya,order a degree to close all hotels open in Juba markets,like Suk Jebel, Custom Market etc.. were prostituition is daily practice.

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        • 9 October 2008 15:57, by Monylok

          My friend Rombe or what ever you called yourself, you are the type of people who just increase our number for nothing.

          Do you understand development really.

          How should bars and hotel be closed down in the city! you are the type of people not wanted not the young niggers who understand Development.

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          • 10 October 2008 08:49, by Rombe Loro


            My comment on the subjectmatter is not DEVELOPMENT but ’PROSTITUITION’practice in Juba markets nowadays. Its my opinion
            suggesting to Mr.Pitya to close those hotels in markets like Suk Jebel and custom’s market where prostitution is daily practice. Do you think its part of delopment to indulge in illicit ations in the market? Lets make markets places for selling and buying commodities rather than turning them for immoral behaviors.

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            • 10 October 2008 13:20, by Monylok

              Mr. Rombe,

              I got you now, thanks for that.

              Anyway our home is coming up with all modern culture which we never saw and our leaders termed them as bad behaviors which is not the appropriate term.

              Modernity comes with development.

              I agree with you Rombe but let the Commissioner base his ACT on Laws not just to arest innocent children.

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  • 9 October 2008 16:20, by miss JOOK

    We want to seperate from Arabs yet we still want to cover our bodies like them. we claim victory and peace but Arabs way of doing things is still in our heads. if the police has nothing to do rather than arresting teenagers, they should be deployed in Darfur to do some peace keeping or do physical labour for the country like building the desperately needed roads. shame on you arab minded police. its okay to wear tight jeans as long as you do not hurt other people.

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  • 10 October 2008 06:24, by AK-47

    look at those who know thing about the real world. commissioner passed his own law. *(<:"WTF"@?! is that!! ask yourself what SPLM/A fought for last two decades...come on, was freedom for all. that law you got is SHERIA LAW base in khartoum...open your eye this is S Sudan otherwise youth will fight GOSS for their right if the law still exist...

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  • 10 October 2008 09:36, by jocknyabiil


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  • 10 October 2008 10:12, by Daniel Kalaka

    That move is really accepteable action and when we need to take action we have to verfying it before launching it may be policemen doesn’t know their duty this was against CPA defination and Southern Sudan Constitution and against human right .Government of Southern Sudan have to taken action upon that otherwise it will show nagetive image reflection to GOSS and they have apoligize for that move!!!!!!

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  • 10 October 2008 11:58, by lojur lokiden

    How do you feel when you see your daughter/ sister or else relatives with Parts of their breasts and buttocks halfway displayed??? Is you house(Juba in general)a concert theatre where you can expose everything as part of the acting? Are we(southerners) really christians?

    I wonder the way you react to the commissioner! It`s like you enjoy looking at your mothers`/sisters` private parts. that`s weird!!

    Juba is the centre for displine and to be as role model to the other cities but not to practise PUBLIC MISCONDUCT.
    You better talk about the way the police are arresting them but not why they are arrested.

    Even our leaders who are suppose to tell us the right thing are negatively understanding this issue!! what a mess!!

    I advise those who are criticing Pitya to think like a human/youth. Or they can expose themselves only to their family members but not to affect the others. Most people disagree with this because the truth is always bitter. drinking time must also be limited because southerners need to work hard for a better south. Who will work for us if we waste the time in drinking?


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  • 10 October 2008 13:40, by Daniel Kalaka

    Dear bro you are wrong there ,please let me tell you this act is so call pre-mature idea and misleading idealogy

    please go and reverse the CPA contents and make comment on such immorale act,

    if the CPA can give freedom of expression,speech,religion,culture,selfrelaince race identity either white or black alike see the 2005 acts of human righ article IV of human freedom

    not only that there is alot of mass in Juba regardless what they define as misbehavior by young girls & men and leaving those corrupting town of juba,land grabbing ,stealing money of Goss for self interest......X

    X+y=xy2...... please formulate yourself before you rush to somebody in other hand you have to clean you home before you went to advise someone about he/her compound!!!!!

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