By Ngor Arol Garang
March 30,2011 (WAU) – Nine opposition members, suspected by police and security in the state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, to have supported an attempt to hold a demonstration against incumbent governor, General Paul Malong Awan Anei, were released on Wednesday 30 March 2011.
Their release confirms reports last week by both locals and officials that over 7 political rivals had been arrested in connection to a document written by unknown group calling for demonstration against state governor.
Anei was the successful candidate in the 2010 April elections which he contested with independent candidate General Dau Aturjong.
Both Anei and Aturjong joined Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in the early days of the second north-south conflict which began in 1983 and remained active participants until the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended the over two decade long civil war in 2005.
Aturjong to contest the gubernatorial race as a independent as he was one of the over 350 senior SPLM members across the country who did not secure approval of their candidature from the party’s political bureau.
He was reinstated by South Sudan’s president and leader of the SPLM, Salva Kiir, in December 2010 in the leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) with the same rank as Major General but was not given a new assignment.
Notwithstanding his reinstatement to the army, attempts made by the SPLM leadership, to reconcile the two rivals and decrease tension between their supporters, since the election, appear to have been ineffective.
Tension between supporters of the two sides remains a political concern in the state. Allegations of continued intimidation and arbitrary arrest and suspension of individuals suspected to have voted against members in the current administration continues to be subjects of cocern among people in Bahr el Ghazal.
On 23 March, 2011, the state’s administration arrested nince officials from the rival group suspected to have written a document which criticized the state governor and called for demonstration in all the five counties of the state.
Among those who were detained was Lieutenant Colonel Garang Joong Akoon, who said he was initially arrested at the military headquarters in Wunyiik, North east of Aweil town, capital of the State.
“I have been in the prison for the last five days now. I was arrested both in Wunyiik and Aweil town. Wunyiik was where I was initially arrested. I do not know why I was arrested because nobody told me the reason. I did not know the reason of my arrest”, said Lt. Colonel Akoon, in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
Deng Amet Madut, a government official with the ministry of education in the government of south Sudan currently on family visit in his home county of Aweil East County, said he was informed of being on the list of those wanted by the state administration.
“I received oral reports and several telephone calls from individuals that I was one of the officials wanted by the state administration. I do not know why they were looking for me and nobody came with official letter. This is what I hear from the general public”, said Amet, adding his colleague who works at the in the ministry, also on a family visit in the area was among the arrested officials.
“Angelo Machar Akec; a colleague at work in the ministry of education currently on the family visit is among those arrested. He was arrested with seven others,” said Amet.
Angelo Machar Akec, who was reported to be one of the detainees confirmed his arrest in an interview with Sudan Tribune from Aweil town, on Wednesday, saying he was arrested with eight others and taken to the court twice without knowing the charges against them.
“Nine of us were arrested in Machar Kunyuk prison. We also heard some other people were arrested in different locations and released without trials after their arrest. In Aweil here, we were taken to the court for the second time today. And like in the first when we were taken, nobody appeared before court with charges against us.”
“It was this second time that the court told us to go home because there was no evidence and there was nobody who appeared to present charges against us before court,” said Akec.
“I was arrested with eight others. The reason of our arrest remains unclear until today”, he said.
He named Reverend Moses Aguer Bol, Akol Mayendit, Simon Wieu Garang, Mario Angui Lual, Achuen Arol, Agiu Garang, Lieutenant Colonel Garang Joong Akoon, Adup Achier (Payam Administrator), as also being arrested.
Agany Deng Kawac, a member of the National Assembly in Khartoum in Aweil town, confirmed the arrests said he does not know the cause.
“Yes, I have heard of this arrest but I do not know the actual cause. What I have heard was that there were unknown groups who wrote a letter calling for demonstration against the state government.”
“The letter had no names and it was thrown down from where the police in collaboration security elements found it and started looking for these groups. I do not know skills they used to detect people,” said Kawac.