A traditional chief in Jur River County of Western Bahr el Ghazal State has been admitted to Wau Teaching Hospital after he was detained and beaten by some members of the SPLA-IO forces, his son said.
Chief Uraya Dut was reportedly arrested on Thursday and taken to Kuanya military base, manned by the SPLM-IO.
His son Marko Uchuir Uraya, said the elderly chief was asked to compensate a cow that died in his custody.
It started as a court dispute between two men identified only as Goi and Luony, where the former sued the later to demand payment of a cow.
The chief, in his ruling, found Luony guilty and ordered him to pay the cow to the rightful owner.
The fine was eventually paid, but, according to his son, the animal was young and sickly and died in the hand of the chief, prompting the owner to accuse his father of culpability.
“There was a person demanding a cow from another one and both of them took their case to court for trial. He (chief) found that another was responsible for the cow which belong to the other,” Uraya explained.
“The case was between two people, Goi and Luony but the truth was established that Luony had a cow of Goi and he was ordered to pay back the cow, so he brought a cow and it was so small of the cow later die under the chief’s hand that is why the cow owner renewed the case by arresting the chief yesterday’” he said.
“Yesterday, the complainer went and opened a case against Uraydit but Uraydit told him that his cow is dead which I cannot refund to you, and because from there, the complainer was from the SPLA-IO, he took a decision to open a case at the Military site of IO and that is why the chief was taken and tortured there.”
Uchuir said his father is currently unable to speak after he was tortured.
When contacted, the SPLA-IO commander in Kuanya, Brigadier General Bol Wek dismissed the claims, saying the wounds on the chief’s legs were motorbike injuries which he suffered after allegedly falling off a bike.
“The good thing is you said you were at the hospital where the chief is admitted, the nature of the chief is of an old man that cannot be tortured,” Gen. Wek said.
“This old man is our elder, you can see the lasers on his back or the buttock if tortured but nothing like that. The person who was demanding a cow from the chief first reported the case to me, but we told him that such cases are not ours, they are handled by chiefs.”
“So, the case was taken before the local chiefs and Uraydit was asked to pay back the cow but Uraydit refused to pay and said to let the chief take him anywhere where he will be fined, and this is why he was brought to us where the case was first reported but we did not torture him,” Wek stated.
But the army commander could not explain why the local chief was in chains.
However, Gen. Wek said the local ex-chief was released under his order to enable him to go for treatments.
“I ordered his released so that he can go for treatment and after that, he was returned for his case that is why he was released today, we did not torture him.”
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