South Sudan: Prison standoff resolved

By Deng Machol

Minister of Interior Michael Chianjiek and Deputy Minister of Information Lily Albino briefing the media in Juba on 29th August 2018 (File photo)
Minister of Interior Michael Chianjiek and Deputy Minister of Information Lily Albino briefing the media in Juba on 29th August 2018 (File photo)

Juba – South Sudanese Minister of Interior says the standoff between security personnel and inmates at the National Security Services Headquarters in Juba has been peacefully resolved.

On Saturday night, the Authorities reported a standoff between security officers and inmates who have taken over a section of the National Security Service Headquarters in Juba.

Kerbino Wol, an officer of the National Security Internal Bureau who has been in detention since April, was said to have taken control of a section of the detention facility at Blue House after he allegedly disarmed the prison guards last night.

According to an official statement by the NSS, Captain Wol, is said to have mobilized a number of inmates to deter any attempt by the authorities to enter the building.

“[Kerbino] overpowered the guard at the entrance of the prison and disarmed him. Capt. Kerbino used the weapon from the guard to open the prison gate by firing at the locks,” said the National Security on statement on Sunday.

According to the officials has Captain Wol has engaged to accept a peaceful mean lay down the guns.

Meanwhile, Minister Michael Chienjiek said the inmates agreed to return to their cell after the intervention of community elders, including senior government officials.

The Minister told the SSBC, state-based Television on Sunday afternoon that the parents of Captain Kerbino Wol, managed to persuade their son to surrender the arms to the authorities.

“We have managed to resolved [the matter] through dialogue, and we have returned all of them [inmates] to the detention. All of them are now in detention,” Chienjiek said.

According to reports, efforts to end the matter through peaceful means was mediated by veteran politician, George Kongor, among other prominent leaders.

“We want to thank the father of Kerbino himself, because he was with us and his father talked to him that what you are doing is not good,” said Chienjiek.

Earlier, Capt. Kerbino who has been in prison at the National Security since April, allegedly reported disarmed a prison guard, and set free some of the inmates at the Blue House.

On Sunday, Kerbino Wol told the Voice of America that he and some of the inmates are protesting their detention without trial or without being taken to court, adding that they demand to be arraigned in court.

Wol said they were protesting “illegal detention and disappearance of some of the inmates. According to Wol, they were supposed to be free based on recently president Kiir’s amnesty, which was granted to all the POWs and political detainees, but wasn’t happened.

But the National Security has just released 20 prisoners without prominent detainees such as Kerbino Wol, Peter Biar Ajak, James Gatdet Dak and more others.

A statement by the NSS Internal Security Bureau, noted that Capt. Wol has been on “administrative detention, pending a court martial.”

There has been no reports of clashes since the standoff started on the early hours of Sunday. It was not clear what has been agreed to address the grievances of the inmates.

In spite that, the situation has remained tensed, but calm, as authorities say they are still engaging the inmates in dialogue to avoid any exchange of fire. The main road leading to National Security office has still sealed off by the security officers.

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