HRW Says Army Operating ‘illegal’ Detention Sites in Nimule, Eastern Equatoria

JUBA, South Sudan.

A Prison Warden standing at the gate of Torit, Eastern Equatoria Prison. (Photo/Nyamilepedia)

A Prison Warden standing at the gate of Torit, Eastern Equatoria Prison. (Photo: Nyamilepedia)

Sept 27, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —- “Military forces arrested at least 11 civilians in the town of Nimule, in Eastern Equatoria, and surrounding villages, and subjected them to weeks or months of harsh military detention in the Nimule army barracks in late 2014 or 2015,” said a report released yesterday by Human Rights Watch (HRW), which sent an investigator to speak with former detainees, family members, and government officials.

According to the report, the civilians were accused of supporting Martin Kenyi, a senior South Sudanese army officer from the area who defected to join the SPLM-In Opposition rebellion.

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During the last week in December 2014, soldiers arrested Irra Joseph, a driver, in Nimule, and accused him of supporting Kenyi. Irra was held until 4 January. Like all the other detainees, he was not charged or taken before a judge. South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution requires detainees to be produced before a court within 24 hours.

Some of the men were beaten or tortured while in custody of the authorities.

On 21 February 2015, Michael Dravuga, a currency exchange, was arrested in the Nimule market by armed men in civilian clothes believed to be a mix of military intelligence and NSS officers. The officers beat him and pinched his arm and an ear with pliers while asking him questions about Kenyi.

The same day, six armed security officers, some in civilian clothes and others in army uniforms, arrested Nasuru Abdallah Gobi, a teacher and community leader, at his home in Nimule and detained him. He was severely beaten while being questioned about his alleged connection to Kenyi.

Three days later, soldiers arrested Taluga Angelous Kwiriko, also a teacher, at his home in a nearby village and detained him in the same barracks, where military intelligence officers questioned and beat him.

Two other men, Sabasaba Emmanuel and Opi Isaac Martin, a carpenter, were arrested in February and early March respectively. Interrogators used pliers to torture Martin, pinching him on his body and ear lobes, permanently damaging one of his ears, while demanding information about the whereabouts of Kenyi.

On 22 March, a businessman named Richard Loku Francis was arrested in the Nimule market and detained for two weeks. Six men beat him for several hours, demanding to know where Kenyi was.

All six men were released in mid-April.

On 2 February, security forces arrested Isaac Lagu Jabakana, a senior local chief, Drici Emmanuel Jacob and Andruga Godfrey Peter, both laborers, and James Duku, a teacher, all from Nimule and surrounding villages. After being held at the Nimule barracks, they were brought to the Giyada detention site in the Military Intelligence headquarters in Juba, Central Equatoria state. Jabakana and Duku were beaten during their arrests.

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