Tuesday December 12, 2017

National statistics boss thanked SPLM-i-O fighters for his release

JUBA – The chairman of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Hon Isaiah Chol Aruai has described his recent detention by rebel commanders in Jonglei as a test for peace and reconcilliation in the war torn South Sudan.
Aruai, a government civil servant was detained along with other UN aid workers in Jiech of Ayod county this week after their UN helicopter decided to detour and land in the rebels heartland. All the three men were requested to remain behind for interrogation by a rebel colonel in the area. The colonel instructed the plane that also carried two foreign workers to go back leaving Aruai and two other behind. The three belong to Dinka ethnic group where Salva Kiir originates.
On Wednesday, political tussle ensued between the warring parties and the UN to demand the release of the detainees. Government officials and in particular Michael Makuei Lueth, the minister of information and broadcasting personally called Gen Taban Deng Gai to demand the release of the trio “on good will”. Dr Majak Agot, one of the G10 officials and a sympathiser to the opposition group asked SPLM-i-O leader, Dr Riek Machar to personally intervene and rescue the three. Dr Riek on Wednesday night ordered the release of the three detainees pending a humanitarian charter to take them to Juba.
On their arrival yesterday, Isaiah Aruai the NBS boss took the initiative to thank everyone who involved in their release. He particularly thanked the rebels leadership for showing resolve and determination to bring peace to South Sudan.

“I thank the leadership of SPLMIO and in particular the military governor Gabriel Duop Lam who kept us safe and got us released. I spoke to Dr Riek Machar personally and I knew before we were released through his directives that we will eventually be released. All in all its a collection effort of everyone including this government as well as the UN. This is a strong sign that peace will come to South Sudan and people will live in peace again.” Aruai told reporters upon his jubilant reception on his arrival in Juba.

Aruai alluded their detention to being because they are from Dinka ethnic group where Salva Kiir hails from.

“The matter was more complicated because some groups among the people who captured us believed that, because we are Dinka, we should not be spared. Thanks to God, soldiers belonging to SPLMIO came to our rescue. There is a bitterness and we understand it. Some people among our captives lost some of their family members in this war. so when they see us as Dinka, they wanted to revenge. But with the help of Colonel Garjang, we were safely put to a good place and treated with respect. on our departure, a goat was slaughtered for us and Duop Lam, the military governor ensured that we all boarded the plane” Aruai said.



Bith Jonathan

Bith Jonathan is an award-winning journalist and columnist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mass media and journalism from the prestigious kenyan school of mass media.

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