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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More