MALAKAL – South Sudan’s ministry of interior and the police central command in Juba have formed a committee to investigate killings in Malakal, the capital of the country’s oil-rich Upper Nile State, which they said appear to be targeted incidents.
On July 14 2020, a group of unknown gunmen shot dead Malakal Public Prosecutor Thomas Aban Akol Ajawin, a brother to prominent opposition leader Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, while having dinner with his family.
On November 4 the same year, senior army office Brigadier-General Arop Okew was shot dead along with Activist Juliano Amrose while returning home during the evening hours.
In March 2021, a group of armed young men attacked IDPs who had left the Malakal POC to welcome then newly-appointed governor Abudhok Anyang resulting in the killing of at least of three people including a woman.
ON 16 August 2022, the director-general of the state ministry of physical infrastructure John Okony was killed while returning home by an unknown gunman.
Major General Chol Atem, the Upper Nile State police commissioner, now says the police central and the ministry of interior in Juba have formed an investigation team to investigate these killings which appear to be targeted.
“The committee arrived from Juba a while ago [Monday] to the town. The committee consists of five members headed by Lieutenant-General Jackson Elia and four other members,” General Atem is quoted by Eye Radio as saying.
“The committee’s task is to investigate the reasons that led to the demonstration in the town. Its other mission includes investigation into all cases of killings, including the recent killing of the Director General of the state Ministry of Infrastructure and other murder cases,” he added.
ACTIVIST WELCOMES POLICE MOVE
When contacted by Sudans Post, the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) Edmund Yakani welcomed the formation of the investigation committee and urged the government to this time publish their finding, shame and prosecute the culprits.
“CEPO welcomes the formation of the committee to investigating the senseless Malakal killings. This is good move if the committee can walk the talk seriously without being an instrument for silencing the crimes of Malakal killings,” Yakani said.
Yakani said formation of committees that don’t give results has been used as “an instrument for denying victims justices” and added that “it is essential that any committee formed to deliver justice and accountability should be serious and supported to deliver their mandate without any political blockage.”
“The formed committee for investigating Malakal killing has a big responsibility to show the nation as justice and accountability are required now over the ongoing human atrocities in Malakal,” the prominent activist further added.