Four South Sudanese Refugees Imprisoned For Months In Uganda
Feb 07, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —- At least four refugees, identified as three young men from Murle tribe of South Sudan, and one lactating mother from Shilluk tribe but married to a Murle man are reportedly held in Panyazi prison, Adjumani, Northern Uganda, for several months now since their arrest without any criminal charges.
Aborcup John Akuer, an activist and a refugee living in East African’s Kenya, confirmed to Nyamilepedia that the four refugees have served several months in prison because of false allegations labeled against them by Ugandan authorities.
According to reports from relatives, the four are accused of being members of South Sudan’s armed opposition led by the country’s former-vice president, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
“I got reports about those refugees in Uganda. They have served several months in Panyazi prison without criminal charge but false accusation of being South Sudan’s armed opposition members’, Aborcup John Akuer stated.
The activist accused the Ugandan’s authorities of denying familial visits to the detained refugees, saying even Lucia Nyawak, who breastfeeds, has been detached from her children.
According to Aborcup, the unlawful imprisonment of the refugees, whom he identified as Juma Rio, Philip Allan, Rabai Korok and Lucia Nyawak was triggered by a simple argument between Murle and Anyuak refugees over their block’s chairmanship election results which then turned violent.
“The information I got indicates the arrest of these people simply was a result of a misunderstanding between two communities, Murle and Anyuak who held block’s chairmanship election and its result appeared distorted and perceived by Anyuak as rigged, this led to a few days fight between Murle and Anyuak.” Aborcup narrated.
“When police came, I heard they arrested the four and instead told them they were arrested because they’re rebels’ members.” He further added.
Aborcup believes that it is not the first time Ugandan authorities have acted in this manner, citing other incidents including a case where refugees who crossed the border from Kenya to Uganda, seeking safety, but got arrested in July, 2015 by Ugandans and transferred to South Sudan in August, 2015 where they finally got executed.
Aborcup fears these refugees might be treated similarly or executed by the Ugandan authority. Ugandan has participated in South Sudan’s conflict on Salva Kiir side and is believed to have deeply involved in South Sudan affairs in favor of Salva Kiir’s government.
The activist calls on Human Rights organizations, Refugees supporting Organizations and Government of Uganda to work for the release of these refugees.
This report was compiled by Aborcup John Akuer, a South Sudanese activist living in Kenya, reacheable at firstname.lastname@example.org, and edited by Nyamilepedia’s Editorial team.