Juba protestors released without charges
The 22 peaceful demonstrators, including civil society activists, who were arrested by the police yesterday in Juba were last night released without any charges.
On Tuesday, tens of angry youth, artists, and activists congregated at the Mobil roundabout where popular musician Trisha Cee and a bodaboda rider transporting her were knocked and crashed by a water tanker on Monday. They demanded better health care and justice for Trisha's death.
Trisha's family, friends, and fans say she died due to reckless driving and poor services at the Juba Teaching Hospital, the country's main referral hospital where she was left unattended for more than four hours until she succumbed to her injuries.
Jame Kolok, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance and one of the detained protestors confirmed their release to Radio Tamazuj.
“I am grateful to inform you that despite our arrest following our peaceful demonstration on the death of our colleague Trisha Cee, we were released at around 8 pm. 22 of us were arrested and we were all released after detention,” Kolok said. “We did not know people exercising their rights to peaceful demonstration could be arrested. Some of us sustained injuries due to brutalities while being put into the police vehicle and I can say we are fairly well. Three of us were injured but are undergoing treatment now.”
Paulino Lukudu Obede, the Central Equatoria State information minister confirmed the release of the activists and urged the activists and the public to present their grievances to the government as provided for in the country’s constitution.
“Yes we went to the detention site together with the minister of local government and cabinet affairs and there is no need to worry about their health because the 22 of them were released without charges,” Minister Lukudu said. “The government needs to listen to the views of the demonstrators and that is why we want them to present their petition to the Juba City mayor so that the issues raised can be put into consideration but any kind of protest without providing solutions is noise and the constitutional right to express their views should provide solutions to the problem.”
Meanwhile, Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), confirmed that all the 22 arrested demonstrators were released.
“All the 22 who were detained have been released, but the people who were arrested first were not counted but those taken later were counted,” According to Yakani, “I spoke with the Inspector General of Police and the Interior minister. I also called the commissioner of Police in Central Equatoria State and he said the detained activists were under his jurisdiction and that they would be released. We thank the police administration that they were released in under 24 hours.”
He said that truck drivers should undergo rigorous training and testing before being issued drivers’ licenses.
“According to me, the way forward is that first of all the traffic police should teach these truck drivers the traffic laws and test them, especially the Ethiopians and Eritreans. They should not just give them driving licenses. They should be tested and then they can drive the water tanks,” Yakani said.