February 19, 2010 (Khartoum) -- Sudan’s upcoming national elections has already created problems in the whole country, especially in Southern Sudan. Salva kiir Mayardit, the Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, the Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) are the only candidates vying for the presidency of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).
The pair developed uneasy relationship years back and felt apart in 2009 after SPLM accused Dr. Lam of siding with the Khartoum on many key issues but he denies all allegations and said SPLM is to blame for the problem saying the party is being run by few people who are out of touch. He later found his own party accusing the SPLM of acting outside of its founding principles.
People close to the military sources in Juba confirmed that the so call “The Special Branch”, which is belongs to the SPLA, is believe to be behind the detention of SPLM-DC Elections Officials.
"The SPLA tears elections posters of the SPLM-DC and seizes its elections materials at Juba Airport. Today at about 7:00 am in the morning an SPLA force in Malakal moved from the Southern Sector of the town and was tearing and removing all the posters of the elections campaign of the SPLM-DC. They were still tearing the posters at the time of writing this press statement. This was happening before the eyes of everybody in town.” Eng. Charles Kisanga, the Secretary General of the SPLM-DC wrote in his press release.
SPLA, the army wing of the SPLM, has been accused numerous times by the SPLM-DC as being use as tool to prevent SPLM political opponents from carrying out their activities. But SPLM-DC appears to be the only party banned by the SPLM from conducting its political activities in the South. Also, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has recently released its report on Southern Sudan Government accusing it of various voilations including the torturing and detaining of the SPLM-DC members with out due process.
“At about 9:30 am at Juba Airport, the military intelligence of the SPLA at the HQ of General Salva Kiir Mayardit, candidate for the President of GoSS, seized a load of elections materials sent by the HQ of the SPLM-DC in Khartoum to its office in Juba. The person carrying the material, Mr. Amjad Angelo, was detained and taken to an unknown destination; we are very concerned for his life. Such misconduct is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms possible.
The detained members of the SPLM-DC as well as the material seized must be released forthwith. Also, strict orders must be issued to the SPLA to keep away from politics” said Kisanga.
There are conflicting reports about the exact number of people detained by the SPLA at Juba International Airport but SPLM-DC Information Department believe at least three people have been arrested. Some sources confirmed to SSNA that the incident has caused enough panic in Juba and in some Southern States.
“I think all we have to do now is to wait and see what will be next. This is a politics and we have to know that” the source continues.
“We appeal to the National Election Commission, UNMIS and the international community to bring pressure to bear on the SPLM leadership to allow the general election to take place smoothly without hindrance.Our enquiries confirmed that three people were detained in one of the notorious cells belonging to this Special Branch. The Chief of Military Intelligence of the SPLA visited them and took some video shots of the detained members of the SPLM-DC and gave a statement to the government radio and television in Juba that our members were detained because they were carrying a pistol!!! Nothing was mentioned about the elections materials seized. Such a ridiculous statement is irresponsible and insulting to the intelligence of the common man. A number of questions arise: how could somebody who was on a commercial flight carry a pistol? If he was carrying one, should it be the "Special Branch" to handle the matter or the Police, or even Public Security? Is the pistol licensed or not?", SPLM-DC press statement further explained.
The Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) was born out of 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which was signed between Khartoum and the SPLM.
One prominent Southern observer who asked not to be name believe that “the region could easily sit in hot tube after referendum claiming the only way to avoid that is for Southern leaders to come together and draw the line of how their future will look like.”