November 4th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – The Chairperson of National Committee for Information and Public Relations of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), Mabior Garang de’Mabior has denied claims by a freelance Kenyan journalist that he was behind the arrest and the subsequent deportation of Dr. Riek Machar’s Press Secretary, James Gatdet Dak in Kenya in 2016.
In November 2016, James Gatdet Dak was arrested by Kenyan security operatives who later handed him over to their South Sudanese counterparts the same day and was later flown to South Sudan’s capital Juba where he remained in detention and put on trial afterward.
Gatdet was later sentenced to death by hanging over charges of treason and incitement against the government and was also sentenced to 20 years for violating article 70 of South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution 2011.
On Saturday, a freelance Kenyan journalist, William Kitonga Machria claimed that Mabior Garang de’Mabior, the SPLM-IO Chairperson of the group’s National Committee for Information and Public Relations, was behind the arrest and the subsequent deportation of Machar’s Press Secretary James Gatdet Dak in November 2016.
“When James Gatdet Dak issued a press release condemning a Kenyan General, Mabior then saw an opportunity to get rid of his arch-rival. In his meetings with Kenyan officials on November 1st, he encouraged them to arrest him and deport him to Juba,” the Kenyan journalist wrote.
For his part, Mabior who denied any responsibility said the Kenyan journalist failed in his article to provide proper details as well as not acknowledging that he too had to flee Kenya for Tanzania to evade an apparent deportation by South Sudan security operatives.
“Kenyan journalist William Kitonga Machria who claims to be a journalist in Kenya Ministry of Foreign Affairs failed to mention that I also narrowly escaped being deported,” Mabior said adding that “He should also tell us about what they did to Aggrey Iddri and Dong Samuel since he is blaming Kenya.”
Following Gatdet’s arrest, the Kenyan government acknowledged responsibility and said given his vocal activities including to issues related to Kenya, he was deported and handed over to the South Sudan government because his visa had been cancelled over media activities.
Prior to his arrest, Gatdet welcomed a decision by the United Nations to replace a Kenyan army general working as part of a UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan who was blamed for failing to protect civilians from government troops who targeted them.
Gatdet was released on Friday following an order by President Salva Kiir for his release along with his South African colleague, William Endley who was also sentenced to death for charges of espionage and providing weapons.