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IDPs in Bentiu protest abduction of Camp Chairman by alleged state security agents

Juba, South Sudan,

June 22, 2021 – The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bentiu of Unity State have taken to the streets to protest the abduction of Camp Chairman by alleged state security agents.

IDPs in Bentiu protest abduction of Camp Chairman by alleged state security agents
IDPs in Bentiu raise placards demanding release of a camp chairman abducted by alleged State Security Agents (photo credit: Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

In May, the Governor of Unity State Dr. Joseph Nguen Manytuil appointed the chairman of IDPs through a gubernatorial decree but the IDPs rejected the appointee on grounds that the state authority was not mandated to appoint the leader of IDPs.

Speaking to Nyamilepedia yesterday, Mahoth Rong Chieng, a University Student at Nkumba University in Kampala said, since the inception of POC in 2014, IDPs thought of forming a camp authority that will be handling their issues. That authority was named Community High Committee (CHC), which got its direct support from the UNMISS and other NGOs operating within the camp.

He said the leadership is selected on a rotational basis with a mandate of six months, which cannot be extended adding that at some point a leader in charge may not even complete his term.

“The CHC leadership is rotational with a tenure of 6 months without any extension but on some bases, a particular chairperson may not complete his/her tenure if he/she does not conform to the leadership standards as expected”, Chieng told Nyamilepedia.

He said in March a person identified as Bigoah Kuong was nominated to be the camp chairman but with four days left in his term, the IDPs being represented in their respective counties by a body called County Solidarity decided to remove him.

Chieng said the chairman Bigoah was ousted because he mixed camps affairs with the State government which is the reason why they are languishing in POC adding that the move was also deemed to be a tactic of consolidating powers.

“He directly links the IDPs affairs to the state government which is responsible for their initial displacement in their beautiful homes during the crisis,” he said.

“The chairman has been revealing characters that may amount to him refusing to step down when his term comes to an end. This is because he made an agreement with the Governor who promised him that he had to continue ruling the IDPs as an administrator of the area and such administrator should only be appointed by the State Government,” Chieng added.

He continued “A large number of people are still in the camp because they lack trust and confidence in the state government, hence submitting their affairs to the State Government at this early stage is a conspiracy from the Chairman.”

He further explained that the government was irritated by the successful removal of their agent Bigoah by Counties Solidarity.

“With the successful removal of Bigoah by the Counties Solidarity which represents the voice of their people, Bigoah colluded with the state government and was offered security apparatus just to hunt down and arrest those who supported his removal,” he claims.

The source said Bigoah first arrested Gordon Makul Mayak who is the Chairperson of the Jagei Committee Association in POC and at the same time, the Chairperson of the Counties Solidarity. Makul was arrested in Bentiu town where he was working as a humanitarian worker.

On 19th June at night, Bigoah, allegedly with the help of his security personnel came inside the camp and arrested the Chairman of CHC, who replaced him after his removal by the IDPs.

On learning this the following morning, the IDPs poured in the streets and demolished the office of the joint forces which they believed had a connection with the state government. They are calling for the immediate release of the two people arrested to be returned.

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