JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has launched its state secretariat in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State’s capital Aweil and officials who were arrested this morning have been released, a senior member has said.
Dut Majokdit, SPLM-IO member of National Liberation Council (NLC) and Chairperson of Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), told Sudans Post that the launch was done hours after noon time at the party’s state headquarters in Aweil after they were denied two important public squares a day earlier by security forces there.
“This afternoon, I mean several hours after the noon time, the party was able to launch its secretariat in Aweil town. The launch was done at the SPLM-IO headquarters in Aweil, at Malour Awer and was attended by the secretary-general, the national minister of health and the speaker of the council of states,” he said.
The senior opposition official who said he was in Juba when the launch completed said that senior officials who were beaten and arrested earlier today have been released, but party officials in the counties were unable to attend as they were prevented to travelled to Aweil by heavily armed security forces deployed in the streets.
“The two national ministers, the state minister of sports, and the two members of states parliament as well as others who were arrested earlier today have been released. But the officials such as the county chairperson have not attended the function because they were prevented from coming to Aweil town for launch of the party by the security forces deployed in the streets,” the official further said.
A Sudans Post reporter in Aweil said most journalists were prevented from attending the function by the National Security Service in the state and were threatened that they would be considered members of the SPLM-IO and be arrested should they cover the function.
“For me I did not attend, we were threatened by the national security service here in Northern Bahr el Ghazal that those who will go to the function will be considered a member of the SPLM-IO and will be jailed and that’s why I and the colleagues I known have not attended it,” he said on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.