Freed Kenyan: Why I will never set foot in South Sudan again

B: JOE KIARIE, NOV/08/2013, first published by ‘Standard digital, Kenya’ SSN;

This dramatic but sad story evidently exposes the corruption in the CID and the Ministry of Interior, the Security and even the ministry of foreign affairs in the Republic of South Sudan. Are we really now more corrupt than Kenya…..find out…

When Mr George Githinji received a call summoning him to the CID headquarters in Juba, South Sudan last month, he thought it was a cruel joke.

His fears were nonetheless confirmed when he was arrested and locked up in one of the country’s most dreaded detention facilities, supposedly at the behest of the Kenyan embassy in Juba.

After 30 days of torment while under illegal detention in a foreign land, the father of three was finally released and ‘deported’ with no charges preferred against him after his plight was highlighted by The Standard on Saturday last weekend.

Now back home, albeit ailing, Githinji, 52, has one resolute vow; “I will never set foot in South Sudan again. God has saved my life and I will not court death again.”

The businessman paints a picture of terrifying impunity in Africa’s newest nation, but most significantly, accuses the Kenyan government of betraying and failing to protect its citizens. He says his torment started on Thursday October 3, when he visited the Kenyan embassy in Juba seeking assistance to recover cash owed to him.

“I found Ambassador (Cleland) Leshore arguing with someone at the reception and he immediately turned to me, asking if I had returned to Sudan to disturb him,” he recounts.

He claims the ambassador was furious that while serving as the organising secretary of the Association of Kenyans in South Sudan, Githinji had alongside other officials highlighted the embassy’s perceived laxity in the media.

Disappearing

“He ordered me to walk out and report to State House that he had refused to offer me any assistance,” he claims. Githinji says he was shocked to receive a call at 9am the following day ordering him to report to the CID headquarters. “It is the last thing I expected,” he asserts. “I alerted my Kenyan neighbours and also called the Kenyans Association chairman Gideon Mungai”.

With cases of people disappearing without trace in the hands of security officers prevalent in the oil-rich nation, a Kenyan cleric popularly referred to as Bishop asked to meet Githinji so they could discuss the issue. “I rushed to Genus Hotel, a Kenyan-owned restaurant, and found him there,” he recounts.

But they only exchanged greetings before they were treated to a rude shock. “Just as I was ordering for tea, two men already seated in the hotel walked to us, identified themselves as CID officers and asked us to accompany them to the headquarters,” he explains.

“They said we were to record statements regarding anonymous calls that I had received; yet I had not complained to any South Sudan government officer about such calls.”

He says they were led to a white Mitsubishi double cabin van but instead of heading towards Juba town; it zoomed off to Jebel Kujur, a dreaded military facility popularly known as Blue House. The facility is located at the Jebel Kujur hills on the outskirts of Juba town.

“It was a hair-raising moment and I told Bishop that if we enter Blue House, we might disappear without a trace as no one had seen us being arrested and no one would know where we were. I told him to pray hard,” recounts Githinji.

One of the officers, he states, immediately ordered them to switch off their mobile phones and hand them over to him. “He told us that from then henceforth, we were in the hands of the CID.”

At Jebel Kujur, he says, they were separated and booked in at the reception. “There were two blocks on each side of the reception, both labeled ‘toilets’ at the entrance. I was led into one of the blocks, only to realise there were five cells inside. I was put in cell Number One,” he says. He describes the cells as dingy, dimly lit, with no ventilation and teeming with giant mosquitoes. A cold tiled floor was to be his new bed.

All the cells, he says, were full with people of diverse nationalities. Still in shock and not knowing why he had been arrested while Bishop was released the next Monday, the businessman says one officer identified only as Jacob volunteered to help him walk to freedom.

“He summoned me saying he wanted to save my life. He told me to give him 6,000 Sudanese pounds (about Sh210,000) which he claimed was for my transport to Nimule border crossing,” he narrates.

Normally, it only costs about 500 Sudanese pounds to travel to the border point. “I told him I did not have the money and he handed me a cell phone that I was to use to call three people who would bring me the money. He gave me up to midday the next day to get the cash but stormed out fuming when I told him I could not get that money in a day,” Githinji continues.

He was returned to the cell and this marked the start of a traumatising period that saw him stay for two weeks with no communication whatsoever from the duty officers.

After two weeks, he says he gathered courage and asked the duty officer taking the roll call why he was being held.

“He could not read properly so he showed me the file. My offence had been recorded as sabotage,” he asserts. “I inquired further and he told me it was the Kenyan embassy and not the government of South Sudan that had me arrested. He said he could thus not help in any way”.

Githinji who is supposed to be on daily medication for hypertension, says his pleas to be allowed access to drugs proved futile.

At 12.45pm last Saturday, the day The Standard on Saturday highlighted his story, Githinji says an officer called him and inquired whether he would be able to pay for deportation back home the same day. Fearing that criminal charges probably awaited him in Kenya, Githinji questioned why he was being deported.

Illegally chased

“He told me I was not wanted in South Sudan as we were holding illegal political meetings. I implored further and he told me it is only my embassy that could answer questions regarding the meetings,” he says. Githinji says he was already time-barred to fly home that day, but was advised to book a ticket for a Sunday flight to Nairobi. “I called a friend who booked a ticket for me,” he states.

The businessman’s fears that he was just being illegally chased out of South Sudan and not deported were confirmed when he reached Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

“I thought I would find security officers waiting for me, but I only found my wife, daughter and brother. To date there is still no formal explanation as to why I have been chased away despite the fact that I had just signed a lucrative construction contract,” he says.

On Tuesday he recorded a statement at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he was assured that investigations were already underway and those found culpable would be punished. Reached for a comment, the South Sudan embassy in Nairobi said the issue was beyond her jurisdiction.
END

25 Comments

  1. Well, it is not a fault of South Sudanese authority but that of the embassy, I suggest the title should have been ‘Why I will never set foot in the Kenyan Embassy in South Sudan,’ rather than Why I will never set foot in South Sudan again.

  2. Marial says:

    We have heard more stories about the Kenyan Ambassador in South Sudan wasting Kenyan tax payers resources on women. Now he is punishing the very Kenyans he was brought to protect. Mr. Leshore, one day you will answer to these atrocities.

  3. Daniel Juol Nhomngek says:

    It was sad indeed. How on earth an innocent person suffered such a cruelty. Where is justice why God has abandoned us?

    • majongdit says:

      Juol Nhomngek,
      My friend, don’t believe this man. I want you to remain the same Juol I know. The story of this man is one sided. It has to be substantiated to the core for us to believe his story. I read this story in the standard online edition. I was and still angry that kenyans hurled insults on South Sudanese and South Sudan when they looked at this story.
      However, Kenyans and Ugandans have benefited from the country they scorn and have made many from people they abuse.
      God shall always remain our witness. The way South Sudanese suffered as innocent refugees has been kept in the armpit by those who watched them suffer those days.
      Now foreigners have flocked to South Sudan and they are involved in some serious crimes. If they are caught red handed in terrible crimes they go out claiming they were mistreated in S Sudan and then they go carry out campaign about this country and its people. It has happened in Uganda and it is already happening in Kenya.
      Our people in East Africa pay rent and school fees. East Africans in our country have jobs and businesses. Juol, look of Kampala of the year 2000 when you and I travelled together to Europe and the Kampala of 2013. South Sudan contributes 14% annually to the economy of Uganda. The only market for ready goods from east africa is here.
      What S Sudan contributes to East Africa is almost becoming a misgiving. East African governments are good but their people are pretenders and very much unappreciative.
      The story of this kenyan man is damaging. This story is enough to provoke any negative revenge against our people in Kenya.
      For now we have heard his side of the story, we can only judge and choose those to blame after we get the whole truth.
      Thank you.
      FROM EDITOR: MAJONDIT, JUST IMAGINE, IF ONLY THE THIEVING KLEPTOCRATS IN THE SPLM/A HAD INSTEAD INVESTED THE NATION’S STOLEN BILLIONS THAT THEY BOUGHT HOUSES, BUSINESSES AND PAID FOR SCHOOL EXPENSES WITH FOR THEIR CHILDREN IN UGANDA AND KENYA, IF THEY HAD USED THESE BILLIONS TO BUILD SUCH SCHOOLS, HOMES, HOSPITALS, BUILT BETTER ALL-SEASON ROADS AND HYDROELECTRIC PLANTS.. IN WARRAP, NBG, JONGLEI, UNITY STATES, CAN YOU PHANTOM WHAT A WONDERFUL COUNTRY SOUTH SUDAN WOULD HAVE NOW BECOME?
      KIIR’S AWFUL MISMANAGEMENT OF THE COUNTRY WILL FOREVER MAKE US UTTERLY DEPENDENT ON UGANDANS, KENYANS, ETHIOPIANS, ERITREANS AND EVEN THE LAWLESS SOMALIS.
      BELIEVE ME, IN YEARS TO COME, WE WILL HAVE TO FIGHT AN ECONOMIC LIBERATION WAR…..

      • Majongdit says:

        Editor,

        I strongly agree with you that better schools and hospitals be built in this country to avert the tendency by our people to go stay in East Africa. I feel that something must be done about the standards of our health and education in the country. And then safety guaranteed to every citizen and business promotion for south Sudanese citizens, this will become the first home for everyone.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Bro Daniel, God did not abandon us but rather we have abandoned God that’s why all these evils are engulfing us today. in south sudan it’s very difficult to make a distinction between the Mi, CID and thieves, because these guys are almost acting in the same manner. A thief comes to you in bright day light claiming to be an MI or a CID and well equipped with gun and without uniform, sometimes they beat you up in front of people while they are thinking that they are security personnel.

    • South Sudanese says:

      Dear Anonymous, whoever is telling or showing that they are undercover officers are being very foolish! Such foolish individuals can be marked out, followed, cornered and roasted – kalas, that’s simple!
      Nobody, I repeat, nobody in South Sudan has the patent to holding and intimidating others with the gun.

      • AJ says:

        Idiot south Sundanese,
        Anonymous is right and I have seen that in my naked eye in Juba hai Malakia. Why are you denying the truth? And why do Mi & CID carrying guns anyway? Stop this sh… behaviors. Kenya, Uganda and others neighboring countries except Sudan, helped us during the war. Those who’re uttering against the neighbor nations are forgetting that the education they have got it in those countries they criticized.

        Why not blame Kiir for all mess up not setting up proper government run without thieves and nepotism.

        Editor, you are right. Think about if Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and others shut down their borders and no more relationship with them, where will all goods that idiotic government will come? Sometimes I feel like pulling someone’s hair so that I open pores for them to get reality in all directions for faster brains to process.

        This so called south Sudan will end up in internal clashes with current manner we have with cowboy empty head person that I don’t even think he deserves to be called the president.

        AJ

        • SPLA says:

          AJ you are 100% right. We mistreat our neighbors very badly and this has given us a bad name. Yet we are aspiring to join East African Community, How will this work out? Those individuals who offer contracts to Kenyans or Ugandans and they do not pay for the goods should be arrested. I believe these are government officials. Shame on them. I feel sorry to be a South Sudanese.

        • South Sudanese says:

          AJ, that’s where you show weakness again! Your comprehension of the English language is quite wanting. Read my reaction (complement to Anonymous’ reply). I quote my self once again: ‘ Dear Anonymous, whoever is telling or showing that they are undercover officers are being very foolish! Such foolish individuals can be marked out, followed, cornered and roasted – kalas, that’s simple!
          Nobody, I repeat, nobody in South Sudan has the patent to holding and intimidating others with the gun’.

          Let me explain the above text. I said whoever is telling or showing that they are undercover officers are being foolish. Meaning if you are CID or MI personnel and you go about displaying that you are one in public, it is dangerous for you because people will now you, they can even follow you and you can easily get killed (kalas, simple).

          I went on to state nobody (CID, MI, police, etc) in South Sudan has the right to intimidate others (citizens and foreigners alike).

          I don’t write plain English. Next time you read my text, adjust your reading glass and do some rehearsal on prose. By concluding that I am an idiot when my text is a complement to anonymous’ reaction leaves me wondering if you really know who the idiot is here.

          • AJ says:

            South Sudanese,
            I appreciate when you come clean as you stated your intention, I also thinks that you mixed up your intended message. I now understand what you trying to put across and I still thinks that, its wasn’t deficiency for me to understand it but your mix up messages. In other ward, you seems to send two messages.

            ” Dear Anonymous, whoever is telling or showing that they are undercover officers are being very foolish! Such foolish individuals can be marked out, followed, cornered and roasted – kalas, that’s simple! ”

            You simple said here that, some people in South Sudan used MI&CID to commit crime by pretending to be official representative. Okay, that a side, why then state

            ” Nobody, I repeat, nobody in South Sudan has the patent to holding and intimidating others with the gun.”
            This is where you mixed up everything. People are been robed gun point, arrested and detained without knowing the invisible MI & CID are working with criminals. When you said ” Nobody, I repeat, nobody in South Sudan has the patent to holding and intimidating others with the gun.” you have some prove to back up your statement in which in this case, you don’t.

            Don’t get me wrong, I am a person willing to accept when there is misunderstanding. That said, let us not blamed foreigners for every things that goes wrong in South Sudan, our government failed us. All these talks you and I and also the rest in this forum have is generated as a results of our government failure to act like a government. If government do not provide services to people, such as build or renovate hospitals, Schools, roads security to its citizen, no one will have theses many discussion.

            Think about government offering jobs like building house, house keeping to mention a few to foreigners and yet, the government in Juba don’t create laws that make our own citizen to compete for these jobs first and if they don’t find qualifying South Sudanese, then they can hire foreigner deputize by southerners so that Southerner citizen learn from his boss.
            So, I have put my argument to rest and let us keep hammering Juba to change it practices.

            NB: Editor, thanks for editing and keep your good job.
            AJ

  5. Elhag Paul says:

    Dear George Githinji
    I am very sorry to hear about your ordeal. It is not only unjust but it was/is an illegal act. But please do not swear “never to set foot in South Sudan again.” It is the current government of “criminals and idiots rotten to the core” in Juba in collaboration with wrong elements in your country’s embassy that are responsible for your ordeal.
    We the South Sudanese people too suffer massively under this system. There are worse things happening to citizens of South Sudan daily including disappearances and this is why we are struggling to change president Kiir’s government.
    As a living example of SPLM’s government brutality you could help by spreading the word that the government is South Sudan is a regime of terror that should not exist in this day and age. Once this barbaric regime is changed you can come to South Sudan and be assured of your security. Best wishes to you and your loved ones.

  6. Nhial Gatkuoth Chung says:

    Not only foreigners are suffering in the hands of the security personnel, even the nationals are experiencing such hurdles.
    only God will intervene and uproot these criminals….then South Sudan will be in peace.
    FROM EDITOR: NHIAL, THE PURPOSE OF POSTING THIS ARTICLE IS TO FOCUS ON THE DEPLORABLE LAWLESSNESS OF THE ENTIRE SECURITY ORGANS IN THE NATION. INDEED, THOSE DETAINED IN THE INHUMAN CONDITIONS ARE NATIONALS. WHERE IS THE RULE OF LAWS AND HUMAN RIGHTS?

    • Nhial Gatkuoth Chung says:

      indeed this is deplorable security situation, people are being tortured and detained without investigation, besides summary execution. SS police and security apparatus are becoming very hostile and malicious compared to Kenyan police that are said to be the most corrupt in East Africa. our security organs are settling their financial status through bribery.

  7. Mohd Adam says:

    Thank God, you arrived back home alive!

  8. Mr, el haq,
    I really believe your longing in exile is driving u insane, how can you hurl such insults to your own nationals, when you suppose to be patriotic,
    Let me summarise this fake story to you to understand it and the cause that led to his arrest by whoever he claims.
    He is a beggar in south Sudan, therefore he went to his embassy to beg, but because of his routine begging, ambassador became angry with him and called the security, now let me ask you? Before he went to embassy to beg for money, did any south Sudan security forces arrest him? Mr Paul don’t be stupid to utter those insults to your own country.

  9. Dear Mr.Paul Elhag:

    I want bring to your understanding that I once stayed in Kenya asylum in the refugee camp in Thika before I came to the United States for resettlement program status. What I have seen with my eyes from Kenyan government, it was totally very bad! The Kenyan government controlled everything in the country, foreigners were not allowed to be given things because they had blocked everything from them! They had harassed and intimidated people everywhere asking for money to be given. If you do not, you may be find yourself in great danger!

    There are many Kenyans residents in the country in the South, they do not make problems. George Githinji has his case with their own embassy. The embassy has the right to report to South Sudan government to expel a Kenyan resident whom they have considered he or she a troublemaker in the South.

    If he has chosen his decision not come back in the South, that would his own personal decision alone! It is none of anybody’s business!

  10. Tyson says:

    Githingi
    While some of us condemn the manner in which you had been treated in Juba, your predicament is confounded by the long arm of your embassy.
    However, some South Sudanese received equaly bad treatment in the hands of your people. The same fate happened with some South Sudanese in Uganda.
    Majority of South Sudanese are not people who disturb or revenge on their tormentors. Otherwise some of our tormentors including Jalaba would not be roaming freely in our country.
    The message to all governments is that they should respect the rule of law!!!!!
    Whether you want to come to South Sudan or not is your own business. Nobody is going to beg you for it.

    • Dear Tyson:

      This is the first time that I came across your comment which reflects on your true nationalism. As there is no true enemy in politics, I would swallow my tribal animosity towards you and give you a brotherly kiss on your cheek just for this comment. Today, you have commented like a true Equatorian and I would from now on treat you like a real South Sudanese no matter how we differ in politics. You have said it all and I greatly appreciated your comment. This article has revealed the true identity and nationalism of some of our fake Equatorians. Keep it up and stay blessed!

      “The truth hurts but it is worth telling it”
      Lukudu Gatkuoth Garang!

  11. Rom B. Ruac says:

    Githinji,

    I think your complaint should have been directed to your Embassy in the Republic of South Sudan where you personally went into some rude arguments with your Ambassador. South Sudan Law Enforcement organs might have intervened to protect you and sang beautiful songs to re-unite you with your family back home. You should have appreciated those involved in separating dispute between you and your Ambassador otherwise South Sudanese citizens may doubt your lucrative business. You have remembered that cause of your problem was in the Embassy not anywhere else in the Republic of South Sudan where you had free access to good life, movement, protection until the days to hike up your Ambassador in his office.

    Insulting some officers of begging you with money in the cells is a make-up and cooked allegation to tarnish the image of Law enforcement in the Country which might have caused you severe punishment.

    You need to remember the pains and suffering South Sudanese had undergone through in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda during and after our Liberations and with no single cases been published. ENDURE THE SAME!!!!!!!

    FROM EDITOR: MR. ROM B. RUAC, LET’S US NOT HIDE THE REALITIES. OUR SECURITY AGENTS ARE INFAMOUSLY CORRUPT AND BRIBERY-PRONE. FOR YOUR INFO, MR. GITHINJI DID RETURN TO JUBA ONLY TO FIND THAT HIS BUSINESS PARTNERS HAS SCREWED HIM AND THAT’S WHY HIS VOWED NEVER TO SET FOOT AGAIN IN RSS.
    CORRUPTION, NO SURPRISE, IS THERE FROM THE PRESIDENT DOWN TO THE DEPRAVED POLICE AND THE SECURITY, THESE LOWLY UNPAID COMRADES HAVE TO ‘EAT’ ALSO!!!

    • Dear Editor:

      If you closely examine the corruption trend in South Sudan and Kenya, you would not find any difference except that there is no Dinka officials in the Kenyan government and police forces to blame. I hope you have heard that the Kenyan security agents or forces had looted most of the stores in the mall while they were battling the Somalis terrorists, Al Shabab. Editor, if wishes ride a horse, I would make you president of South Sudan just to put your good ideas and intellectuality to test. Please learn how to see and judge things/people differently.

      I’m disappointed to see you commenting on the business which you have no clue about it. Last year, the former Mayor of Juba, Mr. Baballah detected and closed down one of the Kenyan businesses which was operating a fake medical clinic in Juba. That fake medical clinic had killed numerous South Sudanese in Juba before it was detected and closed down for good. Perhaps, this could be one of these Kenyan’s types of business in Juba. Please note that South Sudan is for South Sudanese and nobody cares if this Kenyan will never put his corrupted feet again in the soil of South Sudan. I hope and I strongly believe that you are not operating a fake medical clinic in order benefit and murder the British nationals in London. Take it easy and stay blessed!

      The truth hurts but it is worth telling it”
      Lukudu Gatkuoth Garang!
      FROM EDITOR: LGG, I WAS INFERRING TO THE SIMILARITY OF CORRUPTION IN KENYA AND SOUTH SUDAN. REVISIT MY COMMENT AND SEE THAT I DIDN’T INFER TO THE DINKA, SO DON’T BE SO JITTERY ABOUT DINKA CORRUPTION WHICH I DIDN’T EVEN MENTION.

  12. Dennis says:

    Githinji,

    It looks like you were taken into custody or abducted by some South Sudanese running lucrative business in the name of south sudan security agencies. Based on your unfortunate story, it could be that some people in South Sudan are tainting the image of South Sudan and its government for a reason, well, anyone can guess. There is a need of huge crack down on such illegal businesses of extra judicial arrest of foreigners. What if Kenyans start abducting South Sudanese in Kenya in the name of Kenyan security agencies only to extract cash from the poor and scared victims cramming for their lives?
    As a South Sudanese myself, it is not what I want to happen between the two sisterly countries. The government and the patriotic people of South Sudan need to do something about this, especially if we all care about our international relations with other countries.

  13. Alex says:

    I was south Sudan since a day after their Independence and was for contract on the area of construction and suddenly i was taken by S.Sudanese CID and told me that as they have information that i have a lot of money and demanding at the spot to give them $5000.00 US dollars even if i tell them the truth no one was believing me. they took the money they found from searching my pockets about $700 US currency and some technical tools and laptop computer and more which costs $12000 US and then damped me to the jail where a minimum of five Ugandans been tortured in a day for no reason.
    All that was to scare me, but i was traumatized and asked them to give me a cell phone in order to ask some people to give me more money and did happen after all they brought me a Sudanese to pay him 500 s.s.pound and bail me out. that was the end of detention and left every thing and left that worst country.
    all neighboring countries they have to keep away their people from going to south Sudan, all brutal activities happening by police and CID, you have to go and check every prison and police stations, specially Ugandan government has to take quick action and save its nationals detained for no reason.

  14. Dictatorship in making says:

    why requesting money from the suspect?
    corruption, Kirr government spoil the name and dignity of our country.
    what will be the in-dependency of our security agencies these people sell away our life exchange with money.

  15. Jiet Awom says:

    I really do not know what will be called right and wrong in this country. Even thugs will cry for justice after failing in their evil deeds. If I followed this story well, then it appears this Kenyan dude had a raw deal. happens anywhere in the world. If the owner of this website along with its pessimists believe they will blame government on every wrong deed then I think they need an appointment with a psychiatrist. Pardon me but truth must always be told.

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