Home | News    Wednesday 21 September 2011

S. Sudan Police suspends two officers over assault on UN staff

By Julius N. Uma

September 20, 2011 (JUBA) — South Sudan Police Service (SSPS) has
suspended two of its officers and resolved to punish another four over
a recent incident in which they were accused of assaulting a senior
human rights officer with United Nations Mission in South Sudan
(UNMISS).

JPEG - 16.4 kb
A police trainee demonstrates crowd control techniques and other skills (file/Reuters)

Benedict Sannoh, chief head of UNMISS’ human rights section, was assaulted on
August 20 at a hotel in Juba, the country’s capital, by around 12
South Sudan police officers who beat, kicked and punched him while he
lay on the floor.

After being held for five hours without charge he was taken to a UN hospital.

Reacting to the Police mover, Hilde F. Johnson, the Special
Representative of the Secretary-General, (SRSG) Hilde F. Johnson said:
"I welcome the steps taken by the Government. This incident was
completely unacceptable and a clear violation of the Status of Forces
Agreement with the Republic of South Sudan.”

She added, “I have previously raised this issue at the highest levels
of Government. I am encouraged that today we have seen the Government
take measures against those responsible.

The UN mission further welcomed government’s assurance that such
incidents will never happen again, reiterating its firm support to
assist the southern government in its commitment to uphold the values
of the UN, citing provision of human rights trainings to its security
personnel.

Biar Mading Biar, the SSPS spokesperson confirmed the development when
contacted by Sudan Tribune, adding that the force had to contact an
investigation into the matter and take appropriate measures.

On July 9th, South Sudan officially separated from North Sudan as a
result of the referendum held earlier this year in which Southerners
voted almost unanimously in favor of independence.

The isolation incident, which happened less than two months after
South Sudan officially became recognized as the UN’s 193rd member had,
hitherto, raised several questions as to the commitment of country’s
authorities to upholding human rights and rule of law in the fledgling
country.

(ST)