Leadership of Gogrial state community in South Sudan has issued a strong worded statement calling for immediate and unconditional release of a youth leader detained by the state government.
The community leadership of the state, home to President Salva Kiir, also called for delivery of the accused before a competent and independent court of law.
In a statement issued late on Sunday by a group comprising prominent community figures and youth, they pointed out that the arrest of William Lual Aterdit without the arrest warrant was “a clear act of intimidation” aimed at subduing the youth activities in the area by the administration under the newly appointed state governor, Abraham Gum Makuac.
Aterdit and some of the legislators including former information minister, Ariech Mayar Ariech, and former education minister, Achol Chier Rehan, are among some of the influential and vocal critics of the government of the new administration of governor Makuac, whom they claimed was mistakenly appointed by President Kiir against the choice of the people of the area.
The continued detention of Aterdit without being taken to court or released, according to the statement, indicates a political attempt by the state authorities to allegedly “silence people with alternative views” about performance of the governor and his deputy since their appointment and assumption of public office less than three months ago.
“The current detention of Lual Aterdit without being taken to court and without being allowed to see and talk to his family, relatives and friends is a violation of his basic and constitutional rights and should not be condoned whatsoever the excuse may be,” the statement extended to Sudan Tribune reads in part.
“If there are reasonable grounds for his arrest, he should be taken to court and should not be allowed to remain in detention beyond the constitutionally permitted 24 hours and access to legal and medical services. Or else he should be immediately and unconditionally released from detention if those who ordered his arrest do not have a case to bring against him before the court,” the group added in an apparently authoritative statement.
The statement charged governor Makuac for allegedly fermenting violence by instigating it with intimidation, detention and imposition of leaders against the will of the community as a way to consolidate his authority and silence critics from within the area.
“Even as peaceful as we are, it is possible for two people to start war. We have seen it elsewhere but we do not want it to be imported here. We want to preserve peace and we will not hesitate for the first time to ask for removal of anyone instigating violence. We have never been a violent community. We therefore appeal to His Excellency, President of the Republic of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, to intervene urgently,” it said.
As the people’s president, the statement noted, President Kiir he should remove the governor for the sake of peace, unity, harmony and peaceful coexistence of the people among themselves and with their neighbours.