Feb 3, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan government official, Hon. Isaiah Chol Aruai, and two other officials, who landed in the rebels’ headquarters in the town of Jiec, Ayod county, on February 3, 2015, have been detained.
Hon. Chol, who serves in the incumbent government of Salva Kiir as the Chairman of National Bureau of Statistics, traveled in a UN Helicopter for a mission that is yet to be clarified.
The two other South Sudan nationals, who were identified as Mading Akueth and Jacob Aleer, are believed to be employees of the Lutheran World Federation and World Food Program, respectively.
Chol, who is tasked to conduct censuses in the country before mid of this year, has earlier called on Salva Kiir government to proceed with the elections without censuses, however, it is yet to be determined if the elections will proceed.
According to transitional constitution (2011), and as agreed in Intra-SPLM Arusha Agreement, censuses must be conducted in the country before general elections, however, due to lack of budget and time, the government may proceed without conducting legitimate censuses.
Last month, three members of a religious group, who alleged to be pastors, were promptly kicked out of UNMISS Compound in Bentiu, Unity State, for attempting to register the IDPs without their consents.
The pastors who came from Juba, were suspected to be government agents, sent by Juba to register the IDPs for the proposed elections.
In Ayod, the SPLM/SPLA [in oppositions], which controls over 90% of Ayod county, speculate fear that the disguised officials are spying on their strongholds to estimate their strength to launch attacks in the county and its neighboring Lou-Nuer counties in the coming months.
“Yes, we have received government agents spying on our position. As we speak they are in our custody here in Ayod … but you know what, they are many of them here. I believe they are making friends” said Captain Chuol Par Diu.
Captain Par was referring to Prisoners of War (POW) that the opposition have captured in early battles in Ayod town while trying to advance to interior.
Sources from Ayod indicate that the government force is contained in the bushes of Palith Suburb within Ayod headquarters since April 2014, however, President Salva Kiir has warned last week to attack opposition’s strongholds should the IGAD’s 29th Extraordinary Submit in Addis Ababa fail to bridge an agreement.
“You know last week, Salva Kiir promised to attack our positions very soon in Gawaar and Lou areas, so this is the reason he sent UN with them to spy on us. We know that, we know it but we are ready to receive them, one by one” Chuol continue.
Asked whether they will release them tomorrow as speculated, the official fears that the detainees will go through legal process before they are released.
“No, no. I don’t think so. These are criminals, they have to be investigated thoroughly. We can’t just release them like that” Par said.
“Tell Salva Kiir that we have officials courts here, better than those Kangaroo courts in Juba, so they have to be processed accordingly”. Par continued.
“Our initial investigation indicate that these people are on a mission. One of them told us that they are lost, another one told us that they were sent here by UN to pick up more staffs. All these are lies, no staff was waiting for them at the airport, not even one expected their coming” the official claims.
Sources from Juba indicate that the officials were on a Church mission for Episcopal Church, however, sources from the ground indicate that none of them was found to be a pastor or Evangelical trainer.
Other controversial sources from Juba indicate that the Helicopter was charter from Panyagor to Juba, however, it remains unclear how the pilot made the U-turn Northward instead.
According to Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister of Information, who doubles as the government Spokesman, the United Nation must be held accountable for landing the officials in a rebel territory. The minister blames the rebels as well for kidnapping the UN officials.
Makuei, who calms down the relatives and supporters, said that he has contacted the rebels and United Nations officials.
Hon. Makuei believes he has spoke to SPLM-[IO] leadership, and hopes that the officials will be released tomorrow morning.
The UN mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, is yet to response to the incident. In the past, three UN workers were kidnapped by government militia while boarding planes in Malakal airport. Despite many calls from the United Nations and the International community, the employees were never released.
Sources from Jiec, Ayod County, South Sudan, indicate that the UN chopper has been allowed to proceed to Bor, however, the officials are detained to be investigated.
Latest reports from Bor, however, allege that the Helicopter would remain in Bor until the detainees are released.