A new U.N. report said six months after the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in September 12, 2018 no political detainees have been released from detention.

Forced disappearance

Two prominent critics of the government, Aggrey Idri, a member of SPLM-IO; Dong Samuel Luak, a human rights lawyer disappeared on 23 and 24 January 2017, respectively from Nairobi.

The U.N. Panel of Experts on South Sudan report states the government of South Sudan denied having knowledge of the whereabouts Idri and Luak.

Activists in South Sudan concluded the disappearance of the two critics was the workings of authorities in South Sudan and Kenya.

Government denial

South Sudanese authorities stated that they did not know what had happened to the two men, but that anything that did happen appeared to have taken place outside of South Sudan.

South Sudan’s minister for Information told VOA last year that the government is not in charge of the two critics who disappeared in Kenya. South Sudan’s Presidential spokesman Aten Wek Ateny told VOA’s “South Sudan In Focus” on several occasions that South Sudan government is not to blame for the disappearance of Luak and Idri.

Executions

The U.N.’s Panel report states it verified evidence strongly suggesting that both Idri and Luak were kidnapped in Kenya by the Internal Security Bureau of South Sudan, which is part of the National Security Service who acted on orders from the Director General of the Internal Security Bureau, Lieutenant General Akol Koor Kuc.

The report alleged the Internal Security Bureau team transported the two men from Kenya to Juba in a commercial plane on 27 January 2017, chartered with the help of the Embassy of South Sudan in Nairobi.

‘’On the night of the day they arrived, however, both Aggrey and Dong were, according to the same corroborated evidence, moved from the Blue House facility to another National Security Service detention and training facility in Luri that is part of a sprawling presidential and security service complex about 20 kilometers west of Juba,’’ the report said.

The panel states it received and reviewed a number of independent reports from what it called highly credible and well-placed sources.

‘’These accounts corroborate each other across a number of key details, leading the Panel to conclude that it is highly probable that Aggrey Idri and Dong Samuel Luak were executed by Internal Security Bureau agents at the Luri facility on 30 January 2017, on orders from the commander of the National Security Service training and detention facilities in Luri, the Commander of the National Security Service Central Division and, ultimately, Lieutenant General Akol Koor Kuc,’’ the panel concluded.

Rights groups

Human Rights Watch released a statement Tuesday calling on the government of South Sudan to investigate the killings of Luak and Idri. Jehanne Henry, the watchdog’s associate director for Africa told VOA’s South Sudan In Focus, the government of South Sudan should allow independent bodies to investigate the killings of the two South Sudanese.

‘’It is clearly incumbent on the government of South Sudan now to act and to look into this allegation and evidence that have been brought forward and to give access to the National Security [facility] location where they were held, talk to witnesses who saw them, access Luri and find the place of burial,’’ Henry said.

Family concerns

The families of Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idri told VOA in December last year that senior government officials in South Sudan are behind the disappearance of their loved ones.

Idri’s wife Aya Warille, in an interview with VOA’s “South Sudan In Focus” in Nairobi last year said she holds South Sudan’s First Vice President Taban Deng Gai responsible for the disappearance of her husband. Warille said Gai had been a close friend of her husband, but said since Idri disappeared, Gai ignored her phone calls and attempts for a meeting.

“South Sudan In Focus” requested to speak with Gai on the U.N. report but he declined saying the government of South Sudan will issue a statement, but did not specify when.

The U.N. panel said the tragic deaths of Luak and Idri offered what it called ‘’sobering reflection’’ of the challenges facing the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement by the violent legacy of South Sudan’s conflicts, while highlighting the increasingly unrestricted power of the National Security Service.

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