News / Africa

Rights Groups Want Justice for Slain Wau Protesters

Western Bahr el Ghazal, South SudanWestern Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan
x
Western Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan
Western Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan
Jill CraigJohn Tanza
Leading human rights groups on Friday called on South Sudanese authorities to open a full probe into the deaths in December of protesters in the city of Wau, in Western Bahr el Ghazal, who were shot by security forces.

“Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International would like authorities to ensure a full, effective and impartial investigation that would lead to the prosecution of those responsible for these killings,” Skye Wheeler, a Human Rights Watch researcher who focuses on South Sudan, said.

She called the December 9 protest in Wau "peaceful" and asserted that it turned deadly when security forces opened fire on demonstrators.

Six people died on the spot and two more died later in hospital. The shootings have never been investigated.

That protest came a day after two youths who were part of a group that was barricading the road into Wau were shot and killed by the security forces. The youths had blocked off the roadway to protest a decision taken by state officials two months earlier to move county administrative offices from Wau to nearby Baggari.

Wheeler said some communities felt the decision to relocate the county offices was made without consulting them.

Amnesty International visited Wau and issued a report on the violence in February.

Human Rights Watch visited the city in February and in May. During the second visit, the rights group said state Governor Rizig Zakaria Hassan told them that police shot the December 9 protesters "while defending the nearby South Sudan Bank against 'rioters.'”

But Wheeler said most of the protesters seen in video footage of the shooting appear to be unarmed, with many carrying tree branches and signs.

“Those who were present at the protest say that the security forces shot into the protest as soon as they saw them,” she said.

“There doesn’t seem to have been any attempt to minimize death or injury, and there were no warnings, as far as we can tell, that the security forces were going to use their firearms.”

Wheeler said that many families of those injured and killed in Wau in December are afraid to bring cases to court or complain to the police.

“No investigation has been done,” the wife of one of the men who was killed was quoted as saying in the report by the two rights groups.

“If we open our mouths, that same day I will be put in jail and then my children will suffer more.”

According to Samuel Dhong, Secretary General for the South Sudan Law Society, South Sudan’s legal system does not have the capacity to handle such cases.
  
“That’s why in some communities, they take things into their own hands because the judiciary is not forthcoming to restore the damage that has been caused or bring the perpetrators to book,” he said.

“It’s a big issue that the judiciary in South Sudan needs to work hard to make sure that justice is administered and delivered.”

Western Bahr el Ghazal Minister of Information Derik Alfred had no comment on the matter when he was contacted by VOA News.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid