Cover Story

BAR REBELS From seeking Asylum in IGAD region

 

Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro addressing journalists at the State House after meeting the AU peace and Security Council members (Photo by Morris Dogga)

By Morris Dogga

The Government has requested members of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to initiate a law barring opposition leaders from seeking asylum in the region.

According to the Ugandan online newspaper The Observer, Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro who was speaking during the IGAD meeting on the ratification of IGAD’s Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, warned that the country’s rich politicians residing in the region could wage war against the government from the countries where they were granted asylum.

“Some of them (politicians) have huge properties and investments inappropriately earned from South Sudan. This undeserved wealth is used to advocate violence and war against South Sudan,” the observer quoted Dr. Lomuro.

“These kinds of people cannot just be treated like ordinary asylum seekers because according to the IGAD Instrument of Establishment, no member state should harbour rebels or allow such negative elements to use its territory against member states,” he added.

The observer further reported that Dr. Lumuro’s concerns were expected to form the basis for conclusions from the high level experts’ meeting, which concluded on April 26th of this year.

Dr. Lomuro was attending a three-day high level meeting of the eight-nation IGAD bloc that was held in Kampala, Uganda.

Arrest and deportations

Late 2016, James Gadet Dak the then spokesperson of the opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny was deported from Kenya in a deal believed to have been executed by the two governments.

Though the motive behind the deportation remains unclear, some people attributed the cause to the statement Gadet made in which he welcomed the sacking of the force commander of United Nations Mission in South Sudan in 2016. The Kenyan UNMISS commander was sacked for the UN’s failure to protect civilians during the July 2016 fighting in Juba between the forces loyal to President Kiir and those loyal to the former First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar.

However, according to Kenyan opposition official Asman Kamama, a Kenyan MP believed that Juba government had paid $ one million for the arrest and deportation of the opposition spokesperson.

In February this year, the High Court in Juba sentenced Gadet to death by hanging on charges of treason and incitement against the government.

In early 2017, two South Sudanese prominent lawyers and human rights advocates went missing in Kenya.

The advocates one of whom was identified as Dong Samuel Luak were alleged to have been unlawfully deported from Kenya to the country. The government denied the allegations.

According to Human Rights Watch, Luak was a refugee in Kenya who fled the country after war broke out in 2013.

Though under the Kenyan Law, the 1951 Refugee Convention and the regional African Union treaty on refugees prohibits the return of a refugee “in any manner whatsoever” to a where the life of freedom would be threatened.

The Human Rights Watch said Luak was arrested and held at the Nairobi Area Police Headquarters and has been denied access to legal counsel before his alleged deportation to the country. Until now his whereabouts remains unknown.

Early this year, media outlets reported on a leaked letter alleged to have been written by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation requesting the Kenyan authority to deport the former army chief, Paul Malong Awan.

According to media reports, the letter dated 15th January 2017, was seeking the Kenyan Government to revoke the Visa given to Malong, who was allowed to travel to Kenya on medical grounds after being held in house arrest for months.

According to the letter, the government wanted Gen. Malong deported because he was “engaging in activities undermining security in the country.”

Early this month, Gen. Malong formed a new group dubbed South Sudan United Front/Army. He said the aim was to push for comprehensive constitutional review to introduce a new system of governance including federalism.

Gen. Malong had also accused President Salva Kiir of corruption, impunity and tribalism.

He further accused President Kiir of obstructing the implementation of the peace agreement, an accusation the presidency denied.

 

 

 

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