24th June 2024
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Officers’ negligence behind death of 7 inside container in Warrap: Lul

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Friday, May 17, 2024

SSPDF Spokesperson Maj. General Lul Ruai Koang speaks on Eye Radio's Dawn Show. June 9, 2023. | Photo: Awan Moses/Eye Radio

South Sudan People’s Defence Force spokesperson said the death of seven people who suffocated inside a container in Warrap State was due to negligence from officers in charge of the detention facility.

The victims included four men from Tonj North and three others from Gogrial East, first held in a military detention facility at Barpuot Brigade Four in Kuajok.

They were reportedly locked in a 20-foot shipping container on May 5th, where they suffocated to death on May 6th, 2024.

Warrap Information Minister William Wol Mayom said the suspects, accused of various crimes, were detained without authorization from Governor Kuol Muor Muor, as the facility wasn’t designated for detention.

Meanwhile, SSPDF spokesperson Major General Lul Ruai Koang admitted on May 15, that the victims died due to negligence from the army offices in charge.

“I will say on our part, it was pure negligence, and that’s why we took the first step by arresting the Brigade commander at the rank of Brigadier, the MI officer in charge and the rest,” he told the media in Bilpam.

General Lul said the army detained suspects due to inadequate police detention facilities in Warrap state.

According to him, the lack of detention facilities at the county level in Warrap state led to the victims being locked in the container.

He claimed that sometimes hardcore criminals were held by the army to prevent their forceful release by relatives from police facilities.

Gen. Lul stated that the brigade commander, and the military intelligence officer in charge of the facility failed in their duties.

He stated, instead of providing a suitable detention facility, they locked the victims in a shipping container without ventilation.

General. Lul emphasized the need for an investigation into who ordered the victims to be locked up in the container.

The army spokesperson said the procedures were immediately followed by the launch of an investigation committee by the state governor.

“He has taken the lead. They will be held accountable, and will answer who was the person who gave orders for them to be locked up in a container which resulted in them suffocating.”

In 2016, the global human rights watchdog Amnesty International accused South Sudan military forces of suffocating 60 men and boys in a similar shipping container in Leer town of Unity State.

The government has denied the killings, but Amnesty reports that the witnesses said “civilian and military officials had direct knowledge that the detainees were in distress and dying but did nothing to help them.”


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