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Blue House standoff ends peacefully, says South Sudanese minister

The National Security facility in Juba, also known as the Blue House (Radio Eye photo)
October 7, 2018 (JUBA) -A standoff at National Security detention centre in Juba ended peacefully on Sunday evening as the rioters rendered themselves to the security forces, said the South Sudanese Interior Minister Michael Chiengjiek.

Speaking to the South Sudan TV, Minister Chienjiek said the "hostage crisis" at the National Security Service Headquarters (the Blue House) has ended peacefully.

He further said the standoff leader Keribino Wol gave up his arms after his parents and other community elders convinced him to render himself.

The National Security Service (NSS) earlier issued a statement saying that Keribino is a captain at the Internal Security Bureau (ISB) and he is in an administrative detention awaiting his trail.

The minister added that the remaining prisoners have regained their cells peacefully without bloodshed.

The South Sudanese official, however, did not explain why Keribino attacked the guards and why other prisoners followed him.

The NSS’s, in its statement, estimated that 15 "criminals" took part in the riot.

The authorities accused the rioters of disarming five sleeping guards and taking their arms. Further, prisoners, according to the NSS, used other prisoners as human shields to protect them from the security forces.

The South Sudanese police spokesperson Daniel Justine denied claims that there were 400 prisoners and detained at the Blue House.

"There are only 60 people in Blue House, not 400," he told reporters at a press conference held in Juba.

He further added that the rioters were in a section different where are jailed the "citizens" that security forces were keen to preserve their security as he said in Arabic.

The police spokesperson was alluding to the political prisoners such as James Gatdet Dak and Peter Biar Ajak who are in another bloc.

(ST)