South Sudan

Machar spokesman deported to Juba, jailed by state security


James Gatdet

Kenya has deported the spokesperson of South Sudan rebel chief Riek Machar back to the capital Juba where he was arrested and detained afresh.

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.

National Courier reports that South Sudan National Security Service picked Gatdet at JIA and driven to the Blue House, the NS HQs.

Earlier, 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.

Kenya’s president says that a single Kenyan general should not be blamed for ‘systemic’ failures at the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The general was only on the job for a few weeks when fighting broke out in Juba leading to a later special investigation into the performance of the blue helmets.

Mabior Garang, his colleague in SPLM-IO, told Radio Tamazuj that Gatdet was arrested in connection with this Facebook post but he could not confirm rumors that Gatdet has already been taken to Juba.

He said that SPLA-IO supporters were able to bring him some water and speak to him at the airport but afterwards they lost contact with him.

Mabior noted that Kenyan authorities “were not happy with what James said on social media” but James could be killed if they do so.

“There are laws. If you want to deport somebody there is a way you are supposed to do it… if they deport him to South Sudan that would be very bad because the South Sudanese government is known for killing citizens so if they get somebody from the opposition what will happen?” said Garang.

He added: “We appeal to the Kenyan government to release that man because what he said on Facebook was just something of social media – it was not the official position of the movement.”

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