August 2, 2021 (JUBA) – Government security agents in South Sudan on Monday shut down The Sudd Institute, an independent research think tank and arrested one of the organisation’s directors.
- Southern Sudanese police in a convoy on the streets of Juba (UN photo)
“The Sudd Institute has been shut down by national security and our colleagues, including our acting managing director, Dr. Augustino Ting Mayai has been taken to Blue House for interrogation”, said Jok Madut Jok, a senior analyst at The Sudd Institute.
He accused the leadership in the country of intimidating critics by arresting them.
“We condemn these actions and demand the release of our colleagues, unless charged and brought before a judge,” Jok added.
Security agents also arrested Kuel Aguer Kuel, a former governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.
South Sudanese officials have not issued any statement over Monday’s arrests of the activists.
The move comes days after a coalition of South Sudanese civil society groups unveiled a public campaign demanding for political changes after 10 years of the country’s independence.
Calling itself the People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA), the group said South Sudan has lost its moral, political, economic and cultural bearing with no collective sense of higher purpose.
The initiative, dubbed, “We have had enough” comes against the backdrop of what the group says is the ruling Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement’s (SPLM) failure to govern the country.
“South Sudan’s intractable crises are directly as a result of leadership failure. South Sudan’s leaders have failed to promote a strategic and shared vision for the country and the country is simply floating and drifting without guidance and obviously without a clear direction,” partly reads the coalition’s declaration.
A decade after its independence, more than 7 million people or 60 percent of the population in South Sudan are at risk of facing hunger, aid agencies say. Also, a civil war that started in 2013 killed over 400,000 people and more than 2 million are displaced in the neighbouring countries.