JUBA, SEPTEMBER 18, 2023 (SUDANS POST) – South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) on Saturday stormed a rally organized by South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) to welcome Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin who had spent three years outside the country.
Akol, the leader of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) and secretary-general of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), returned to the country last month after more than three years in neighboring Sudan.
Speaking to Sudans Post, a senior opposition official who refused not to be named said that the event was being organized at basketball stadium in Nimra Talata when a group of National Security Service officers appeared to inform that the even has been cancelled from “above”.
“What happened on Saturday is that we were organizing a welcoming ceremony for Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin at Nimra Talata Basketball Stadium. All our leaders who are members of SSOA were there and Vice-President Hussein Abdelbagi was also there,” the opposition official said.
“But then, a group of NSS officers came with three cars and what they said is that they have been ordered from above that this event should not take place and soon, they started making threats that if we don’t go, we will be arrested and we left,” he added.
The disruption of the opposition function comes as South Sudan is preparing for its first elections since independence in 2011.
The elections are scheduled to take place in December 2024, but there have been growing concerns over the shrinking civic space in the country in recent years.
Observers and activists have accused the government of cracking down on dissent and restricting freedom of expression and assembly.
The government has denied these accusations, but the disruption of the event to welcome Ajawin is seen by many as a sign of the government’s intolerance of opposition.