Prisoners: SPLA holding dozens of its own officers in ‘inhumane’ conditions


The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the national army of South Sudan, is holding dozens of its own officers and soldiers in cramped and unsanitary conditions without access to their families and medical care, according to prisoners at Giyada military prison.

Radio Tamazuj succeeded in making contact with several of the estimated 75 soldiers at the Giyada facility located in the southern part of the capital Juba. In a series of interviews, prisoners said they have been detained sometimes more than two years without being taken to a military court and their family members have not been informed of the cause of their arrest.

“We are not allowed to take a shower, we are not allowed to wash clothes, we are locked inside all day,” said one officer who was detained in January this year after a dispute about being passed over for a promotion.

The senior officer said they are sometimes restricted from visiting a latrine and they are not given sufficient food. He said the army currently does not even pay for their food, they have to ask someone to go out to buy for them, and they do not allow their family to bring them food.

Another officer complained of being detained in crowded conditions, pointing to lack of space and access to latrines as well as not being allowed medical services and visits from the family members.

“In the room where I am detained, we are more than 50 officers alone. There is no space for lying down. You sleep while seated upright. This is a treatment I have never experienced before even from the Arabs we fought for 21 years during the war of liberation struggle for our independence have never treated us like this,” said the officer who has been detained since May this year.

Another soldier said he has not had the opportunity to see a clinic since being arrested in January. “Our case has not been heard. We are told we are arrested on orders from General Malual Ayom. I don’t know my connection with him.”

“I am sick. They know it because it is in the permission document from my battalion commander yet they have continued to hold me,” he said.

The military detention facility where the officers are held is operated by SPLA Military Police under the overall command and administrative supervision of Major General Akec Adim.

“We are suffering a lot here in this detention. Some of us have been here for years without being known by our families. Some of us are considered to have died and indeed many have died in this detention,” one of the detainees said in interview on Monday.

“Our families don’t have any information about most of us. They don’t know whether we are alive or dead. The way they are treating us is inhumane, even how slaves are treated is better than the way we are being treated here,” he added.

A detained medical corps officer commended, “We are under a very bad slavery, under a very bad oppression. These conditions are worse even than the conditions we fought against in Khartoum.”

The detained officers include Brigadier General James Kuol, Colonel Idris Khamis Allajabu, Colonel Matiok Renk, Major Markona Tito, Captain Casiano Apuro Asunta, Colonel Mawiir Nyok, Lieutenant Colonel Garang Jhong Akoon and Major Maker Nyok, among others.

Some have appeared before a court martial while others have not been tried. Those who appeared before the military court have not had the opportunity to be represented by defence lawyers. One prisoner said he believed his lawyers were threatened by a top commander not to defend him.

The Giyada detention site is located on the same grounds as the infamous ‘White House’. The house was used by the Sudanese security as a torture and execution site during the 1983-2005 civil war.

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