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Security apparatus arrest 15 notorious gangs in Bor

By Deng Ghai Deng

 Security officials in Jonglei state capital Bor said they have rearrested more than 15 notorious gangs who escaped from detention last month in military custody. 

Last month, at least 30 of the 45 suspected members of youth gangs who were detained at Malual Chaat military barracks broke the detention center and escaped last week.

Speaking to media yesterday, Brigadier General Ajak Ayuen Mach, commander of Joint Operation Forces that carried out the arrests to restore calm in Bor town said that they had rearrested at least 15 suspects among those who escaped.

 “earlier the suspects are accused by using master key to unlock chains on their legs and escaped from Malual Chaat, we have rearrested half of them and took them back to custody. And we have also arrested some other criminals who were not arrested before, they are all in custody with us. It’s none of my business because we were authorized by the state to rescue the public. When they threatened the community, the state called us to do this job. So it’s the authority of the state that knowswhether they will be taken to court or not. Our job is just to keep them,” Mach said.

 Simon Manyok Deng, the advisor forhuman rights disclosed that the state government would take the suspects to court but would be after thecommittee finished the investigations which might take time, he said.

 “Taking to the court is a process; you cannot arrest somebody now and then take them to the court directly. They are being investigated by the law enforcement agents including police and even the attorney general came to see who will be released and who will be taken to the court. So, they will be taken to court according to the process that is in place,” Deng said.

Last month, authorities in Bor, the Jonglei state capital, launched a crackdown on members of gangs as criminal activitiessurged in most parts of the town. The authorities accused the suspects of masterminding attacks, robberies, house break-ins and generally terrorizing citizens around the town.

 In October, relatives of somedetained suspects criticized what they called the arbitrary detention of their relatives in unknown locations for weeks without trial. They urged the state authorities to either release their relatives or immediately have them charged in the court of law.  But the police said that the suspects would be arraigned in court after some of their leaders who were on the ran were apprehended. 

 South Sudan’s transitional Constitution stipulates that a person arrested by the police may be detained no more than 24 hours, and if not released on bond, they must appear in court.

Several residents in Bor, including women rights activists have condemned what they called ‘ongoing’ harassment of women and girls by security personnel over dress code in Bor town. They accused the security forces of harassing and abusing civilians under the guise of executing a crackdown on gangs and targeting people who look a certain way, especially young women putting on tight-fitting clothes, mostly miniskirts and trousers.

Mach repudiatedthe harassment of the civilians by the security forces.

 He earlier said that he was executing thedemand by community leaders to restore modesty and decent dressing in Bor town. Mach said that women were expected to dress in a way that showed courtesy by putting on clothes that covered their body not transparent or tight-fitting, which he said to be exotic behavior that contradicting indigenous South Sudanese norms and culture.

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