Press Release From: Equatoria Leaders in the Diaspora
Date: 23rd December 2015
Subject: The arrest of former Governor Mr Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro
It has been brought to our attention that Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro, the former Governor of Western Equatoria State, has been arrested and detained by the South Sudan National Security Services on Tuesday 22/12/2015 after he was summoned for a meeting. We Equatorians in the Diaspora are deeply concerned about his arrest, welfare and safety.
This is not the first time the former Governor was harassed and detained by the South Sudan National Security Services. After the signing of the Compromise Peace Agreement in August 2015, he was similarly summoned by the Security Services and was arrested on the 16 August 2015 and detained without any charges. He was released only after concerted efforts from Equatorians within and outside the country and pressure from the International Community. This was soon after he was removed from his position as the Governor of Western Equatoria State by a Presidential decree.
We see this action of arbitrary arrest and harassment of the former Governor as a step by the Government of South Sudan to derail and frustrate the implementation of the peace process.
Given the return of the SPLM-IO into the country as part of the implementation of the peace process and the beginning of a new environment of peace and reconciliation, we feel that the arrest of the former Governor is unfair and counter-productive to realisation of peace and reconciliation.
In addition to the arrest of former Governor Bakaroso, we have learned of the arrest of Dr Leonzio Angole Onek of Juba University by the South Sudan Security Services. He was picked up from the University campus on 7 December 2015 and has not been seen since then. We are concerned about his safety and where about. We view these arrests as another example of systematic targeting of Equatorian leaders and intellectuals.
On behalf of all Equatorians and other peace lovers, we demand immediate and unconditional release of the former Governor, Professor Onek, and others who have been arbitrary arrested without any due legal process.
Federico Awi Vuni