Kiir unleashes SPLA, arrests Machar ministers

President Kiir and Vice President Machar stand during the national anthem after swearing-in ceremony, 26 April 2016.

President Kiir and Vice President Machar stand during the national anthem after swearing-in ceremony, 26 April 2016.

James Gatdet Dak, the spokesperson of the South Sudan first vice president says SPLA soldiers have surrounded a hotel and arrested opposition ministers.

“South Sudan’s opposition ministers loyal to First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, are being arrested in Juba. We call on IGAD to intervene,” Dak said in a social media statement.

He said the SPLM/SPLA (IO) ministers have been in danger while in the capital Juba.

“I have just received a call from Dr. Dhieu Mathok Ding, Secretary General of the SPLM (IO) and one of our national ministers that their hotel in Juba (Crown Hotel) has been surrounded by President Salva Kiir’s forces.”

“He told me that they wanted to arrest all our ministers who have been accommodated in the hotel, and maybe in other hotels as well.”

“He said he was reporting it to me as an urgent matter. As he was talking to me I suddenly heard voices of people like they were arresting him or beating him, saying “bring him here, bring him her.”

Dak claims there was a lot of struggle and some sort of beating in the background until the phone was off.

“I tried to call him but the phone was off.”

He called on the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Chairman, President Festus Mogae, and IGAD leadership as well as partners of peace to find out about the fate of the SPLM (IO) ministers in Juba.

“The lives of our ministers are in danger!”

Dak has confirmed the arrest of SPLM (IO) Secretary General and Minister of Energy, Dr. Dhieu Mathok Ding Wol.

“He has been arrested after severely beaten.”

Accusations, old memories 

Dak last week said fighting at J1 presidential palace broke out when Kiir tried to arrest Machar.

The leaders later said they were not aware what had caused the fighting.

Machar was escorted out of the palace to his home in Gudele only to be later bombed and driven out by SPLA soldiers.

In 2013, South Sudanese government arrested 11 high-ranking political figures and detained them shortly after unrest erupted in Juba.

Seven of them; Deng Alor Kuol, Gier Chuang, Kosti Manibe, Chol Tong Mayay, Cirino Hiteng, Madut Biar Yel and John Luk Jok — were later  handed over to the custody of the authorities in Kenya.

Others including; Pag’an Amum Okiech, who served as secretary general of the ruling SPLM party; former deputy defense minister Majak D’Agoot; Oyai Deng Ajak, former national security minister, and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, who served as head of the government liaison office in the United States, were later charged with treason.

They are former vice president Machar, former Unity State governor Taban Deng Gai, and Alfred Lado Gore, former environment minister, were also tried with treason in absentia.

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