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Sudan Tribune

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Four activists arrested and detained in W. Bahr el Ghazal

November 30, 2015 (WAU) – South Sudanese civil society activists in Western Bahr el Ghazal state are under threat after four members were reportedly arrested and detained.

South Sudanese civil society activist Edmund Yakani (The Niles/File)
South Sudanese civil society activist Edmund Yakani (The Niles/File)
Steven Robo, the state coordinator for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), Archangelo from Youth Organization for Community Development and Angelo Bensansio the Director of Unity Cultural and Development Center are among those detained.

These arrest followed a joint petition written on 23 November 2015 by 14 civil society organizations informing the leadership of the state about the misconduct of individual security operatives deployed in Bagari Jedid/Wau towards the civil population.

Critics, however, argue that activists used a productive and consultative approach of interacting with state authorities which the latter considered to be confrontational.

CEPO’s director, Edmund Yakani described the situation as unfortunate as the nation is expecting peace, yet the consultative rights of expressions are treated as confrontation.

“On Saturday November 28th 2015, the Mayor of Wau municipality invited civil society Organizations for discussion on the matter, which demonstrated a positive act but later after the meeting, arrest followed,” he said.

Yakani, however, urged state leaders to release the detained civil society activists since they were expressing concern as citizens of South Sudan granted in the Bill of Rights Article 28(1), which says “Every citizen shall have an unrestricted right to the freedom of expression, reception and dissemination of information, publication, and access to the press without prejudice to order, safety or public morals as determined by law”.

“The concern raised by the civil society in Wau is not an opponent position. It is just informing the government that something is going on wrong and requires their attention”, said Yakani, adding “It is high time for us to have the culture of dialogue among ourselves as South Sudanese and avoid confrontational approach”.

Meanwhile, CEPO has urged the national government to intervene and ensure that the civil society activists are free from any form of torture and arbitrary arrests.