News / Africa

    Running from 'Tigers' in South Sudan

    SPLA soldiers stand in a vehicle in Juba, December 20, 2013.
    SPLA soldiers stand in a vehicle in Juba, December 20, 2013.
    John Tanza

    Henry Lugale has spent the week since he got to Nairobi thinking about the nightmare that life has become back in Juba.

    "There were people suffering. South Sudan is not good," he told South Sudan in Focus.

    Before the conflict started in December, Lugale was a businessman, running a popular store in Juba’s Tomping neighborhood. When violence erupted on Dec. 15, things got so bad that Lugale practically lost the roof over his head.

    “Because our home was near the home of the president –  these people come and they ruin all the things in the store," he said.

    "And I have some solar (panels) on the top. They removed the solars and even they took my car. Soldiers. Tiger soldiers,” he said.

    Tiger soldiers

    By "tiger soldiers" Lugale meant members of President Salva Kiir’s presidential guard, also called the Tiger Division. Lugale said the same soldiers man some of the checkpoints that are dotted around Juba. They used to stop him several times a day, asking him each time to get out of his car and often confiscating his belongings or demanding money, he said.

    South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei said checkpoints are normal in times of trouble, and speculated that Lugale had resisted security officials who were merely doing their job.

    "Anybody who decides to be intransigent, anybody who wants to go against the law, anybody who wants to take the law into his own hands, these are the people who must be handled. And if he happened to be one of those intransigent ones, then, definitely, he could have an encounter with the checkpoint," Makuei said.

    Ethnic differences

    Lugale insisted he was doing nothing wrong. He said the soldiers at the checkpoints harass people like him – because he is not from the same ethnic group as they are.

    One time, he says, when he was on his way to pick up some items on a list for his shop, he was stopped at a checkpoint.

    “'Where are you going to?'" he recalled the soldiers asking him.

    "I say, 'I’m going to Torit.' 'Where are you from?' I say, 'I’m from town.' 'So which tribe are you?' I say,'I’m Baria.' 'So why are you going to Torit if you’re Baria?'"

    Then, Lugale said the soldiers told him they were going to arrest him. When he asked them why, he said they told him it was because of his shopping list, which they said was a list of people's names. They also said they were taking his iPhone, which had pictures on it of the January 2011 referendum, in which South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly for independence from Sudan.

    Makuei expressed surprise when he was told the story of the referendum pictures, but said Lugale probably had something else on his phone.

    “How can you be prevented from carrying pictures of people who are celebrating the referendum?" he asked.

    "This cannot be accepted by a sober mind. He must have been carrying other pictures which he knows. Otherwise, nobody will ever stop me from carrying pictures of my celebration," the minister said.

    Tired of being harassed

    Lugale insisted that his version of the story was true. He said he eventually fled Juba because he got tired of being stopped, harassed, and having to pay kickbacks or hand over his belongings to soldiers at checkpoints.

    “Ah – you cannot be free, because there are so many checkpoints in the town. There are soldiers there -- operations soldiers. They are there, they are checking the cars," he said.

    John Tanza speaks to businessman Henry Lugale, who fled South Sudan
    John Tanza speaks to businessman Henry Lugale, who fled South Sudan i
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

     

    Karin Zeitvogel contributed to this report from Washington

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: buckz makir from: juba
    July 26, 2014 3:46 AM
    V O A. AS USUAL SUPPORTING AND SPREADING LIES AGAINST THE GOVT OF SOUTH SUDAN,THIS PAGE IS REALY TURNING INTO REBEL PAGE ,

    NOTE, STICK TO PURE PRESS ETHICS ,PLEASE , WE KNOW AMERICA IS SUPPORTING NUER REBELION BUT THAT DOSE NOT MAKE YOU GUY IN VOA A SOUTHNERS AND TALK ABOUT INTERNAL BIZ
    In Response

    by: Moderator
    July 30, 2014 2:33 PM
    At VOA, we strive always to give both sides of every story, including this one, for which we spoke with not only Mr. Lugale but also with Mr. Michael Makuei, the Information Minister.

    by: Koug Wad Titoung from: Cairo
    July 24, 2014 1:06 PM
    Really we felling sorry about what is going into south Sudan by this way we are going to disdoryed our country because by one tribe south Sudan will not be able to people's lives. benefit really we are tribes in home one tribe must think twice about our people's lives or one days we can't find what we need on our way life's so south Sudan going to disdoryed by who calling themselves leader but they're tribezim leaders and they're care about his tribe not all South Sudan people's.

    by: Ngomjaang from: Africa
    July 23, 2014 4:23 PM
    I definitely agree with what Lugale say , the so called Retarded A kiir with his Husband M7 of are the one messing our new nation up..

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora