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South Sudan Security Surrounds Opposition Leader’s House Overnight

In his first speech since he was pardoned by President Salva Kiir, South Sudan opposition leader Lam Akol gave a public speech at the University of Juba.

The leader of South Sudan’s main opposition, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), said government security forces surrounded his house late Thursday night.

Lam Akol said he does not know why the security forces are at his house, but he admits he has been outspoken lately about the country’s ongoing civil war and the rising cost of living.

“Starting from about 9 o'clock ... here, elements of (government) security surrounded my house and blocked all the roads leading to the house,” he said.

Akol denied having any connection to the rebel movement that has been fighting government forces since December 2013, but he said he has been outspoken in the public domain about issues affecting the country.

“I said a lot of things on the issues. Whenever there an issue that is subject to public discussion of public scrutiny, we give our ideas on that. For example, the extension of the election timetable, and the issue of the inflation, the rocketing prices. All these matters we have given our opinion on,” Akol said.

South Sudan’s parliament early this year voted to extend President Salva Kiir’s term by two years until 2017.

Information Minister Michael Makuei said the extension “would give us a chance to negotiate without pressure.

Akol said even if he had spoken out directly against the government, South Sudan is a democratic country in which one can say thing he or she wants.

"In a democratic country, people should be freed to express their opinions through peace means. So why would they be surprised that we are against that because it is an unconstitutional move,” Akol said.

Akol again criticized what he called the rising cost of living in South Sudan.

“Yesterday, I bought a bag of sorghum for 50 pounds. Then, two days ago, they were selling the same for 110 pounds. So is it not rocketing because the price has increased by 120 percent”?

Akol said he wasn’t sure what would happen to him at daybreak (Friday) as the security was still surrounding his house.

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