News / Africa

South Sudan Official: Police Have Orders to Shoot Curfew Violators

An SPLA soldier on patrol in Juba. South Sudan Interior Minister Aleu Ayienyi Aleu has ordered the security forces to shoot anyone who violates the curfew in the capital.
An SPLA soldier on patrol in Juba. South Sudan Interior Minister Aleu Ayienyi Aleu has ordered the security forces to shoot anyone who violates the curfew in the capital.

South Sudan Interior Minister Aleu Ayieny Aleu said Monday that anyone who violates the curfew in the capital is a criminal and security officers are under orders to shoot them dead. 

"It is only witches who move at night," he said.

"They steal and kill our people... Shoot them. We have to strike hard to stop this problem, so now, even civilians cannot move about at night," Aleu said.

The council of ministers "passed a resolution at our last ... meeting that there should be no mercy for criminals. Shoot them," Aleu said.

A curfew was imposed in Juba when fighting broke out in December. It currently runs from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., but there are reports that the authorites plan to move the start time up to 8 p.m. No one was available at the Interior Ministry to confirm or deny those reports.

Rights activists up in arms

Abila Tom Reuben, the human rights coordinator at the Voice for Change NGO said the minister's order violates people's rights - and is unlikely to work.

“With the situation the way it is currently, people in South Sudan do not get scared of death anymore," he said.

That means that a threat to shoot people who venture out at night will not achieve what it was intended to achieve - keep them indoors and bring down crime, Reuben said.

Reuben said that instead of shooting suspected criminals, the government should take steps to improve conditions in South Sudan so that people don't feel they have to turn to crime. Some South Sudanese have turned to theft and robbery to survive because their salaries have not been paid for months or essential services are not being provided, Reuben said.

Edmund Yakani of the Community for Empowerment for Progress also said that if the aim is to cut crime, a shoot-to-kill policy is not the way to achieve it.

“Shooting one criminal is not the solution," he said, adding that it would be better to arrest a suspect so that  "through him, you can track down the other criminals."

Reuben and Yakani said they think the new policy is a tactic to divert attention away from the real reasons people are committing crimes, namely desperation, poverty and insecurity. All have been made worse by nearly seven months of conflict in South Sudan.

The threatened deadly crackdown on curfew violators comes at a particularly bad time for soccer fans in Juba, many of whom will be unable to watch the  final games of the World Cup in Brazil because they kick off or finish after the curfew begins.

Up to now, many South Sudanese have been defying the curfew to watch the World Cup, and have said that security forces turn a blind eye if curfew violators tell them they are on their way home after a match. But that could change with the new order to shoot-to-kill.

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by: lomoro from: usa
July 09, 2014 1:34 AM
Save haven for the jenges is in the hands of equatorians. I wonder what are they waiting for?.

by: Angelo from: Ethiopia
July 09, 2014 1:08 AM
In my point of view resting the crimes and take them to court is better than killing the without investigation this in ganeral is not compulsory by the way

by: Abusala from: Malualkon
July 08, 2014 11:46 AM
This rumuor are circulate by the enemy of peace in south sudan they want our people to hate them and boycott our 3rd anniversary which is tomorrow

by: Lomugit John Longohe from: Torit
July 08, 2014 8:24 AM
the minister is against one region that use the roads and town at any time,mr kiir and his govt want to distablise the living of the country
In Response

by: James from: Juba
July 08, 2014 10:37 AM
VOA should beware of rebel propagandists who hate the government in Juba. They (rebels) are deploying all kind of propaganda to scare off investors from Juba as grim picture of its authorities are painted. People out there must appreciate that having a government in South Sudan to enforce law and order is good.There is no curfew as such although security has been tightened around July 9, 2014, as we commemorate our independence tomorrow. I am currently in Juba and had never been threatened by Juba security personnel. Like Ayom puts it, there are arms in wrong hands and security personnel always serve under risky conditions. Being a police in Juba is like being a police in New York city. People who follow the law have no problem.

by: faza Gabriel from: unnoon location
July 08, 2014 3:27 AM
poor regime in juba
Government killing innoncen people
shamefull regime

by: Sirocco Mayom Biar Atem from: South East Asia
July 08, 2014 3:21 AM
What the minister says and the orders passed by the council of ministers is totally unaccepted why because since before the war started many people where killed in the night and proprieties were robbed and no action taken by the government, in case if the government want to stop crimes, then its just to deployed good number of polices or army whatsoever they want to caught those who violated the curfew. i can say the Minister should reverse the decision.

by: pierre from: Strasbourg , France
July 08, 2014 3:19 AM
The Hon Minister is a lunatic . He was shot twice in the war between North and South Sudan by his own people. He knows what it is like to be shot but is too dumb and stupid to know what his harsh rules mean to the common man in Juba

by: Lixious from: Nairobi
July 08, 2014 3:14 AM
Big up to Reuben and Yakani. Well said

by: ayuen mach wel from: bortown
July 07, 2014 11:51 PM
It is good to imposed curfew because some people need to cause fighting in hubs especially equatorian.

by: riya from: juba
July 07, 2014 10:21 PM
This is totally not right...killing is not the solution, besides not everyone who moves at night is.a criminal
We as South sudanese are tired of all these injustices n we longing for peace n freedom
We were born in killings n still in blood shed
We hoped that after the referendum the situation would be better that we would live a happy after but it seems our cries are in vain
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