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Musician Garang Ateny narrowly escapes death

Musician Garang Ateng performing during a concert; Photo/Facebook

It was on Friday evening at around 9:20 p.m and Garang Ateny was going home in his Nissan Gloria when seven armed men blocked his way at Suuk Militia in Juba.

The local musician said the men were in military and police uniform and they were brandishing arms, including an RPG and riffles.

He said the men ordered him to get out of his car and sit on the dusty road.

“They took from me the keys of my vehicle and then my two phones; a smart phone and a small one and I was having like 825 SSP in my pocket,” he said.

Garang told Eye Radio that the men, who were not contented with his songs, admitted that they had been waiting for him at that particular point for almost an hour.

The men, he said, then engaged in a heated debate on whether to kill him or not.

“The other one was saying ‘No we should not let him go. If it is a matter of shooting a gun, we will be heard in Midan Jamus or Kondial where the forces are. But the other just said ok, let us slaughter him’,” he said.

The dilemma took some minutes before one of the armed men whom he thought was their leader, asked his partners to let him go on condition he will stop composing such songs.

“The leader said let him go and if he makes any mistake of composing a song like the songs we don’t like, then actually we will attempt and we will attack,” he said.

Mr Garang said he has reported the incident to the police.

The musician’s lyrics often praise the ruling SPLM party and the military wing, the SPLA.

The songs include SPLM/A, Jesh Shaab and Love of the Nation which he said he composed after the 2013 violence in the country.

Garang also sings about peace in his songs titled: One people, One nation and Weidan kondial in Nuer language which means a country for us all.