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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid