News / Africa

South Sudan Politician Declares Innocence in Alleged Coup Plot

Former SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum (second from left) testified in his own defense in a court in Juba on Friday, April 11.
Former SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum (second from left) testified in his own defense in a court in Juba on Friday, April 11.
Philip Aleu
One of four South Sudanese politicians who were detained in December and accused of being part of an alleged plot to oust President Salva Kiir testified that he had nothing to do with the fighting that broke out in Juba and spread to the rest of the country.

Pagan Amum, the former secretary general of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) party, told the panel of judges in a special court in Juba that he did not even know that fighting had broken out on December 15 and was surprised to be picked up from his home two days later by security officials.
 
During four hours on the witness stand, Amum said he believed the main piece of evidence against him was that he participated in a news conference with former vice president Riek Machar several days before the violence erupted. Machar has been accused of master-minding the alleged coup attempt.

Many speakers at the early December news conference publicly criticized Kiir’s handling of the SPLM, but Amum said the only time he opened his mouth at the event was to sing the national anthem.
 
Defense lawyer Kur Lual Kur said he expects the five judges overseeing the hearings of Amum and three others --  former national security minister Oyai Deng Ajak, former liaison officer for the southern Sudan mission in Washington Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, and former deputy defense minister Majok D’Agot Atem -- will find that the accused had nothing to do with the alleged coup on Dec. 15..
 
“These charges are not true and any accusations must be in accordance with the law," Kur said.
 
Ajak testified on Tuesday  that he, too, had nothing to do with the violent events that rocked Juba on Dec. 15 before spreading around the country.

The hearings recessed for the weekend and are due to resume on Tuesday, when the prosecution will be able to cross-examine Amum and Ajak.
 
Lawyers for the prosecution refused to comment on Friday's hearing.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Aguer-Wukok from: Adelaide
April 14, 2014 6:35 AM
Very strange indeed!. Why are all the accused from Greater Upper-Nile? What about those who were from Bhar El Ghazal who were with them during the SPLM meeting? why are they not in that Court? or are Bhar El Ghazalians immune for treason? Yes, Upper-Niles are being targeted, especially the intellectuals, such that they cannot rule; otherwise there is no other explanation why those Bhar El Ghazalians were excluded. The SPLM Party is full with them, even they were in meeting on 6th December 2013.

by: Nyakhor from: Omaha
April 13, 2014 2:09 AM
Mr.Elkan your fooling yourself if your truly believe those men aren't innocent. What evidence do you have proving that they are in fact guilty?

by: Elijah B. Elkan from: NM-USA
April 12, 2014 2:50 PM
Since Machar and company were removed from their position, they became bitter enemy of the government. Well, they can denied everything now, but the words have consequences. The 7 plus 4 should must not be allow to get of that easy.
In Response

by: pittiro from: tn-usa
April 13, 2014 3:31 PM
Yes indeed MR ELIJAH, the phrases by so-called disgruntled group by RIEK MACHAR to mean 'splm has given ultimatum or resort of' has it all. Those 4 plus 7 others are with machar and I lost confident on them although such as majak are my uncle.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs