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South Sudan withdraws diplomatic passports from key former officials

August 12, 2016 (JUBA) -South Sudanese government under President Salva Kiir has withdrawn diplomatic passports from key former detainees and officials, highlighting the degree of disappointment with their activities and global campaign advocating for placing the country under temporary administration of the United Nations and for regional intervention force.

SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum (AFP/Getty)

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Joseph Ayok Anei, said Friday that officials at Immigration Service have been directed former public office holders to immediately surrender official and diplomatic passports issued to them while they were in office.

Ayok said the decision was not targeting anyone but rather a matter of enforcing guiding diplomatic policy in the issuance and use of a particular travel documents by those holding public offices.

"This is a matter of enforcing guiding policy in the use of diplomatic passport. There is no targeting of anybody who may have been affected. It is a notice to all those persons holding special and diplomatic passports which were previously issued to them because of their assignments. Since they are no longer in the same capacity, there is no any reason to continue to use the passport as if they are in the same capacity. They should return them to the Immigration Service Headquarters with immediate effect. Failure to comply with this directive will amount to an offence under the Immigration Act 2011. Such unauthorized possession will be impounded at our control posts on arrival or departure,” he explained.

Reacting to the decision of the government, Majak D’ Agoot, one of the key members of former detainees whose diplomatic passports have been withdrawn described the action as “a feckless and desperate act of a dictator with no effect and dividend”.

Majak said on his twitter account that the decision would not in any way affect their activities, stressing that founding leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), late John Garang de Mabior, roamed the whole world advocating for the cause of South Sudanese without a Sudanese passport.

It is unclear how many members of the group have been affected. Sources privy to the decision at the ministry of foreign affairs said up to 24 former government and party officials, including former Secretary General of the SPLM, Pagan Amum Okiech have been affected by the decision.

(ST)