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Bentiu protestor: “I can’t walk or urinate”

Authors: Staff Writter | | Published: Thursday, September 8, 2022

Aerial view of flooding across Bentiu town, Unity state. [©Njiri Karago/MSF ]

John (not his real name), one of the six young men abducted last week in Unity State, says he is unable to walk or urinate after being tortured by men in uniform for demanding removal of Governor Joseph Nguen Monytuil.

The 24-year-old reportedly participated in a peaceful protests at a displacement camp in the state capital Bentiu, before being picked up by security personnel at 3 AM on September 1st.

He said they were driven away to unknown location, tortured and then released the next day.

Speaking to Eye Radio, John (not his real name) testified that he is now an invalid, having been heavily tortured.

“I don’t know if something broke inside my body because my body is not health. If I try to move, people will just carry me,” he said.

“I am not able to move, I am not urinating and you see those things are a big problem, so my life is on risk.”

Among those abducted are five others, who are also freed with minor injuries.

On the day of their arrest, a member of parliament representing Panyijar County said their participation in a protest that demanded dismissal of the state governor, could have prompted their abductions.

Honorable Marol Mark said the youth were kidnapped days after the state authorities issued an ultimatum for the protest leaders to surrender to the government.

John said they were held captive in an unknown detention facility, mishandled and tortured by the abductors before their release.

As a result, he said he is now suffering from urinary retention as result of severer beating.

When he attended to a local medical facility for examination, he said the doctors said they can’t perform ex-ray scan.

“The result of medical check shows that it is something they can not do it here, this one is the emergency health center, where they just caring for emergency,if you have a deep issue you go to further medication,” he said.

For his part, Honorable Mark Marol, who had earlier complained about the youth arrest, confirmed their release.

“They were all discharged, only that one is still in a critical condition at MSF hospital as we speak right now, and he might be referred to Juba for further medical checkup,” said Mark.

“He experienced a lot of pain, and might be having some injuries that may need further checkup. According to them, he will be referred to Juba and the rest have sustained injuries.

The lawmaker went on to say the rest are fine, with minor injuries.

When contacted on the matter, Unity State Information Minister David Gai said he was not aware of the incident.

“I don’t have information, they didn’t report it to me so that I can find out, I don’t information they could have called me,” he said.

Minister Gai said the family of the victim would have reported to the government, so that they could investigate the issue.

Rights Groups say South Sudanese authorities have since arrested civil society activists and a politician and closed down media houses and an academic think-tank, signalling a new wave of repression in response to calls for peaceful protests.

In 2021, Amnesty International said it documented an increase in arbitrary arrests across the country in the days leading up to the planned protests.

In the recent months, media reports have documented at least four incidents of arbitrary arrest and detention of a total of 36 peaceful protestors across the country.

They include the arrest and detention of 20 teachers in Rumbek in June, detention of three civil servants in Bor in August and the arrest of seven protestors including a journalist in Juba’s Konyokonyo market in the same month.

Last month, national Police Spokesperson Major General Daniel Justin urged citizens and groups planning to carry out protests to seek permission from the police before holding it.

The police official however acknowledged that peaceful protest is a constitutional right of every citizen but warns against thugs taking advantage of the situation to loot.

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