April 25 (Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan freed the last four political prisoners due to mounting pressure and lack of evidence.
The high profile political prisoners were charged with treason and incitements but the court found no substantial evidence that link them to the charges.
Their release has been a precondition for the SPLM(in opposition) in a faltering peace process. The oppositions also demands that the foreign troops, Ugandan army and Sudanese rebels, leave the country as agreed in the Ceasefire Agreement in January.
President Salva Kiir suddenly “pardon” the detainees while he fires his chief of general staff and the chief of military intelligence, citing readiness for peace.
Juba has been under mounting pressure as armed opposition gain upper-hand in Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states. The oppositions are threatening to shut down the oil fields and attack Bor on a rescue mission.
Kiir fired SPLA chief of staff on Wednesday, a Nuer by tribe, and replaced him with a brutal loyalist from his tribe, a Dinka, which has been criticize as a sign of war. The new chief of staff recruited a tribal militia, which started the genocide in Juba. Gen. Malong Awan has pledged to quilt rebellion in 30 days.
The last four political detainees released – SPLM secratary General, Pagan Amum, former Chief of general staff, Oyai Deng Ajak, former deputy defense minister Majak Agot and former ambassador to Washington Ezekiel Lol Gatkouth- faced nine charges each but all dropped. Some witnesses never shown up but Ateny Wek reported that they are released to give peace a chance.
“For the sake of peace, these people will be freed. This is a ministerial order,” Ateny Wek Ateny, Kiir’s spokesperson.
The charges for other seven detainees are also dropped, however, the justice minister believes that Machar, Gen. Taban and Alfred Ladu will face charges.
Machar and other oppositions did not comment on the release of political detainees.
Their released is being celebrated in Juba. The detainees were carried on the shoulders, contrary to the release of the seven detainees who were forced to leave the country as the government cites insecurity.
Machar wanted to see all the detainees released as agreed in January, however, the seven that were release former their own bloc, although the government blocked them from participating. It is not clear if the four detainees will join the government, SPLM or the SPLM-7. Talks resumes on Monday, April 28.
The release of political prisoners comes as the international community and the UN threatens sanctions while the government is losing territories.
OIL Fields threaten:
Reports from the opposition, by Brig. Gen Lul Ruai Koang, reiterated that Paloich is under looming attack. This comes after Renk, a major town near the Sudan border was seized by the oppositions.
Other oilfields in Unity state came under rebels control last week although the government was planning to reopen them in July.
More fighting are continuing in Dukpadiet, near Keer’s oilfields. SPLA [in opposition] have alleged having taken the towns in Duk, however, Juba government is yet to confirm.