South Sudan rebel chief Riek Machar has condemned the Kenyan government for deporting his spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, back to the capital Juba.
In a statement addressed to all units, Machar the commander-in-chief of the South Sudan armed opposition,
Machar said he was informed of Gatdet’s arrest from his residence after which he contacted Kenyan authorities.
“On a telephone conversation with the deputy president he William Ruto, I appealed that Mr James Gatdet Dak should not be deported to Juba due to profound for his life,” Machar said.
He added: “I also spoke to the attorney general and I attempted to speak with the minister of foreign affairs.”
He continued: “I also spoke to the fact that Mr James Gatdet Dak was an urban refugee under the protection of the United Nations High Commission for the Refugees (UNCHR) in Kenya.”
Machar says, unfortunately, his appeal was ignored. UNCHR also made serious efforts in order to reverse the decision to deport Gatdet but without success.
Machar said the deportation of Gatdet is a violation of the Geneva Convention.
“Moreover the Kenyan government is a guarantor to the peace agreement that was signed in august 2015 and we do not expect that it would put in danger the life of an innocent person.”
“The SPLM therefore condemns this act in the strongest terms possible. I would like to appeal the international community particularly the UN and UNCHR to exert more efforts to ensure Mr James Gatdet Dak is immediately released and reunited with his family.”
Machar further wrote: “On the other hand, make sure that you protect all Kenyan workers in our areas of control. They are innocent. They have no role in what their government did. We will continue engaging the government of Kenya.”
Gatdet was arrested by Kenyan security personnel in the capital Nairobi from his lavish Lavington home.
The spokesperson for the opposition Dickson Gatluak said Gatdet was kidnapped around 4:00pm by unknown gunmen.
It later emerged he had been detained at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport awaiting deportation to Juba.
His arrest came hours after Gatdet shared a Facebook post criticizing the Kenyan U.N. force commander in South Sudan Lt-General Johnson Ondieki.
Later in the evening, he was deported back to Juba and arrested upon his arrival at 1500 hours. South Sudan National Security Service picked Gatdet at JIA and driven to the Blue House, the NS HQs.
A top rebel Spokesperson told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) that Gatdet was being tortured in Juba and could be killed.
“They handed over Gatdet to South Sudan. He is under serious torture as we speak. He is under serious situation…very bad and I think they will kill him,”
Mabior Garang, the spokesman of the SPLM-IO and son of South Sudan’s former rebel leader John Garang appealed to the Kenyan government not to deport his colleague.