Contributor's Opinion

Opinion: Are Members of SPLM IO Still Rebels?

By Charles Kon Bona Magot, Nairobi Kenya.

SPLA-IO Div. 4-A Commander Maj. Gen. John Turuk Khor (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

Oct 26, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Following the event of arbitrary arrest and detention of youth in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal State dated back on the 18th/Oct/2020, there has been some developments stating that the youth arrested on that day are still under the custody of Nation Security Agents in Wau. Further details reveal that, the detained youth are all from one particular tribe (Luo) of Western Bahr el Ghazel. As per the information received from an anonymous source, they are living in unfair condition.

National Security Senior officer who oversees matters relating to National Security in Western Bahr Ghazal State Deng Santino is absent and the task is under the command of his deputy Louis Agwek who gave the order for the arrest, detention and torture of the Luo youth in Wau.

“These youth arrested and detained should not have been visited by Luo Chiefs and elders in Wau here because these youth are rebels. Had it not been because of our sympathy, the National Security would have also arrested Luo Chiefs and elders for visiting Rebels” Said one of the National Security officers at National Security Side (Blue House) Wau.

The commanding officer undertaking the task relating to the arrest of Luo youth also associates the meeting of Luo youth which was the reason for their arrest with political matter and not of a civil’s. He added that it is of a political motive to eradicate natives from other states from Wau leaving Wau for Luo people and their other fellow natives in Western Bahr el Ghazal State which contradicts with the reason Luo Youth had to conduct the meeting.

The sole reason this meeting was arranged and conducted by these detained youth is dated to an unfair event that happened a week before their arrest when one of the Non-Governmental Organizations (JANITOR NGO) released thirty (13) positions in Luo River and from these Positions, 10 out of 13 are Jiengs and only three were from Luo. Luo Youth then complained that why is it that every time there are opportunities like these in our own county, we are always being denied such chances and those who have been employed other than we have no better qualifications than us in fact we are even more qualified than them.

Luo youth then reported this issue to RRC and other institutions including the National Security in Wau. Mrs. Cleto Rial, governor of Western Bahr el Ghazal State then ruled out a resolution that Janitor NGO be closed for carrying out such act of discrimination in allocation to job opportunities. The NGO was closed for three days till a delegation from head office in Juba came to Wau and added seven additional positions and employed Luo Youth in those positions making 20 positions. Jieng youth with 10 positions and Luo Luo youth with 10 positions and the NGO resumed its functions.

After the complaint brought forward by Luo youth, the RRC in Wau then Challenged Luo youth in Wau of why they don’t have a body that can help address their issues in an organized way than just writing a letter without a formed committee or youth union. Luo youth then having heard that went back and arrange for a meeting where they will form a body that can engage and settle issues like these and this meeting is the meeting they were arrested in. This was not a political meeting but civil complains relating to job opportunity allocations.

As asked above, ‘are members of SPLM IO still rebels? Has Mr. Agwek thought of his statement labelling Luo youth as rebel going against the governor of Western Bahr el Ghazal State Mrs. Cleto Rial and her governorship as a whole given the fact that Western Bahr el Ghazal has been allocated to SPLM IO as per the stipulations for implementation of the peace agreement? This statement is in violation of the peace agreement and also violates the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1976 which clearly states in its preamble,

“Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, Recognizing that these rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person, Recognizing that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights, Considering the obligation of States under the Charter of the United Nations to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and freedoms”.

Under the South Sudan Interim Constitution 2011, freedom from torture is granted and protect Article 18 under the International Bills of Rights

“No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

From Mr. Agwek’s statement he seems to not have understood how the government is working and for sure if he really did know he won’t have mentioned such a term ‘rebel’ in his statement.

Rebel is defined as a person or group of people who rise in opposition or resistance against an established government or leader. In our context, the SPLM IO is now in the government so how possibly would Mr. Agwek term IO members as rebels?

People have also learnt that the National Security Agents do inject some incurable diseases into their detainees’ bodies and release them after sometimes of which they may eventually die. This is really sad and against the international Human Rights of freedom from torture, degrading punishment and pain. The UNMISS needs to intervene because this matter is not political but civil and though political, still under the laws of South Sudan for a member to participate in politics, he/she has to belong to a registered political party of which IO is a registered and internationally recognized political party therefore, UNMISS’s intervention is highly recommended.

Clearly National Security is abusing its power of relating to matters which are of threat to the nation and not matters which can be handled by the Justice department in the country. Matters relating to civil youth complains for job allocation in the country are not of national threat or national security but of civil matter which needs the police to help address them in civil ways.

The author can be reached through social media for more information.

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