South Sudan’s spy agency is ‘particularly ruthless, secretive and well-funded’ – Sentry report
A new report by investigative watchdog, The Sentry, has described South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) as ruthless, secretive, well-funded, and has employed a two-pronged strategy to cement its control and power in the world’s youngest country.
WASHINGTON – A new report by investigative watchdog, The Sentry, has described South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) as ruthless, secretive, well-funded, and has employed a two-pronged strategy to cement its control and power in the world’s youngest country.
“In a country plagued by horrific violence and rampant corruption, South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) stands out as particularly ruthless, secretive, and well-funded. Fear of the NSS is pervasive in South Sudan, and for good reason,” it said.
“Its personnel have been involved in widespread, grave human rights abuses, including kidnapping, torture, and illegal detention, and the organization operates without regard for basic human rights or the personal rights of civilians laid out in the South Sudanese constitution, including freedom of assembly, freedom from torture, and the rights to fair trial and litigation,” it added.
The report said that individuals linked to the NSS holds of shares in various companies including media agencies and natural resources and further revealed that the agency has funded a campaign of surveillance, intimidation and violence against civilians, activists and journalists.
“The Sentry found that, to cement its control and power in South Sudan, the NSS has employed a two-pronged strategy of state capture and repression. Corporate records reviewed by The Sentry reveal a vast network of companies with NSS shareholders, ranging from media and publishing to natural resources and logistics,” it said.
“The oil, finance, and media sectors particularly suffer from NSS involvement both in terms of economic capture and repression. NSS personnel have occupied key posts in state institutions, and the NSS itself has had a role in approving private company operations in the lucrative mining and security sectors. In this way, the NSS has been able to access off-budget finances and diverted revenues, all while sidestepping oversight and operational scrutiny,” it added.
“In turn, the NSS has funded a campaign of surveillance, intimidation, and horrific violence against civilians, activists, and journalists. The NSS has interfered with civil society and the press, suppressed freedom of speech, and illegally detained and permanently silenced those who spoke out against the regime.
“In interviews with The Sentry, several South Sudanese in civil society organizations and in the media sector expressed concern that they might be targeted by the NSS if they spoke openly about corruption or other government issues.”
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