Geeska Afrika Online

South Sudan blocks people from leaving country: Amnesty International

JUBA (HAN) July 15.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. South Sudanese security forces are deliberately blocking people from leaving the country in violation of their right to freedom of movement, Amnesty International has revealed.

The organization said it has received reports from two charter companies that National Security Service officers have ordered them not to carry South Sudanese nationals, particularly men.

A non-governmental organization has also reported that their South Sudanese staff was prevented from boarding a flight to Entebbe, Uganda.

“This arbitrary conduct by the South Sudanese security forces is totally unacceptable. South Sudan must respect people’s right to freedom of movement, including the right to leave their own country,” said Elizabeth Deng, Amnesty International’s South Sudan Researcher.

“It is absolutely critical that both parties to the conflict do not obstruct safe passage of civilians fleeing to places of refuge both inside and outside of the country,” she said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

Juba international airport is packed with security personnel who block men from taking flights to other countries, resulting to detention of many of the passengers who were seen thrown into security vehicles and driven back into town.

Sources said security personnel are only allowing their relatives or friends to board planes.

Thousands of South Sudanese people have reportedly also gathered at the country’s southern border of Nimule, seeking to enter into Uganda, but they are also being prevented from crossing over.

Juba airport was reopened on Tuesday after a ceasefire was announced to end days of fighting between rival armed forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President, Riek Machar, which left hundreds of people dead and thousands displaced.

Charter and evacuation flights have been leaving since the airport reopened, but commercial flights have only resumed on Thursday, but freedom of movement to other countries has not yet been eased.

IGAD, the East African regional bloc, had earlier called on the South Sudanese government to reopen the airport to reactivate resumption of flights. (ST)





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