Kenya is again being accused of kidnapping South Sudanese opposition leaders critical of Salva Kiir’s leadership, a senior SPLM-IO official tells the independent South Sudan News Agency.
According to the Nairobi-based outlet, Dong Samuel Luak was taken Monday evening from his home by people who identified themselves as Kenyan police officers. Aggrey Idri, who has served as the SPLM-IO humanitarian affairs head as well as in economic affairs, was picked up on Tuesday.
Pouk Both Baluang, a spokesman for the SPLM-IO faction in Nairobi, confirmed the disappearances to Radio Tamazuj. Aggrey’s wife also confirmed that he was missing, the radio station reported.
Both men are now being held at a jail in an undisclosed location, the South Sudan News Agency said. Their efforts to confirm their whereabouts with Kenyan police were unsuccessful, but their source – who remained anonymous – condemned Kenya for violating international refugee law.
He said Kenyan government officials worked with Juba to kidnap and return to South Sudan those voices that Kiir sees as a threat. The official demanded that Kenya account for these and other cases of forced deportation.
In November, Kenya deported James Gatdet Dak, the spokesman for SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar, despite appeals from international human rights groups who insisted that he was a registered United Nations refugee. It remains unclear if the new cases are similar in terms of refugee status.
The UN OHCHR said it was “deeply concerned” about Gatdet Dak’s safety at the time, adding in its statement that his return to South Sudan represented the violation of a “cornerstone of international refugee law.”
Amnesty International has called Gatdet Dak’s deportation a “chilling assault on refugee rights.”
Gatdet Dak was arrested by Kenyan authorities in Nairobi apparently in connection with a Facebook post press release approving of the United Nations decision to remove Kenyan Lt. General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki, the former head of UNMISS, following a report on the Juba attacks in July.
The UNMISS decision touched off a diplomatic storm as an outraged Kenya announced it was bringing home more than 1,000 troops in the UNMISS peacekeeping force and quitting the IGAD peace process.
Gatdet Dak remains missing. A demand for his release was at the center of a brief hostage situation involving a Tanzanian pilot and plane in Bantui late last month.
Image: Salva Kiir/AP File Photo