Dr. Jok Madut Jok: A Deputy Minister in the Government of South Sudan “Brutally Tortured” on New Year Eve

Posted: January 1, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan

“You see, they may be drunk, but that is how we liberated this country.”

By Dr. Jok Madut Jok

In my “free country,” South Sudan, there is very little such thing as freedom. This morning, on New Year’s eve, i arrived in Wau, hoping to celebrate with my family, I had the misfortune of arriving at Wau airport on the same day that our President was also due there, coming from his Christmas holiday in Akon. As soon as i landed and tried to get into the car that was waiting for me, myself and my two brothers who came to pick me up were attacked by an SPLA unit, supposedly stationed there to secure the airport for our President. I was brutally attacked, my arms tight by several men, a blow to the side of my head with the butt of a gun and several punches straight onto both of my eyes, no questions asked, not even any accusations of wrong doing. i was tortured properly while i had quickly shown the soldiers my identity card, demonstrating that i am a senior official in the national government, undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture, and the ID was thrown away and several men wrestled me to the ground, on the dry season red dust of Wau for those who have been to Wau, my wonderful blue suit and all. Here is South Sudan, our new country, the one we could not wait to gain independence, is now where such actions have become so common place. what happened to the good old system, where a soldier, once having witnessed a suspicious behavior on the part of the civilian, asking him or her to identify themselves, detain them if need be, interrogate them, or take them to court? torture first and questions, why?

With my bloodied eye, bruised face and a concussion, i was left shocked and in pain, but i was eventually let go, no explanation, no apologies. so the physical pain was unbearable, but it was nothing compared to the pain in the soul of a citizen, whose travels abroad and the abuses we encountered in Foreign countries, the Egyptian racism, northern Sudanese prejudices, the abuses of the Kenyan police or immigration officers in Europe, were all endured because of the dream of a homeland, a free one such as do have now. We used to beat our chests that we too have a homeland and we will one return. But with this, the physical pain, the humiliation bear no weight compared to the silent cries, “why, why, at home, in the country i have yearned for all my life?” It is especially painful and worrying that it all unfolded right infront of army officers forming a jeering spectator of my abuse, of a civilian being treated worse than one of those thieving dogs that the entire neighborhood wants to kill. And here i was, someone who is supposedly their colleague in the service of the same nation these soldier work for, appointed by the same president they were supposedly protecting.

With the responsibility of a senior civil servant, I was being hit, kicked, called a “traitor from Khartoum,” but expected the soldier to uphold his responsibility. Respecting the uniform of country’s army, an emblem of sovereignty, i did not dare hit back at the soldiers, but the soldiers read it as cowardice or weakness. Now all of this will probably be investigated and apologies will issued, but nothing will take the pain away. But my physical pain and humiliation on a Saturday morning on New Year’s Eve will surely heal and life will go on. What will remain most unbearable is the s pain coming from a sense of worry for my country. If an army, one of the strongest pillars of a nation can treat citizens, the very reason for the existence of the army, in this manner, where is the future of such an army and what is the fate of the nation? If this sort of thing happens to a senior government official, what should we imagine happens to ordinary citizens, people who don’t even have ID cards to quickly show who they are?

In South Sudan, pain and all, one can’t help laugh at the same, a kind of laughter out of pity for us all. As i was seated on the floor, being interrogated, several drunken soldiers, the ones “protecting” our leader, kept interrupting their officer with really unsoldierly behavior, and instead of the officer reprimanding them, he told me “you see, they may be drunk, but that is how we liberated this country.” There is that phrase, so commonly used as justification for misconduct. “We liberated it” is now thrown in your face left and right, even if it means taking the liberty to be drunk on the job, loot public property, claim entitlement for a job one is not qualified for, beat or even shoot to kill civilians over nonsense.

South Sudan probes beating of senior official in Wau

January 2, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan said Monday it is investigating an allegation of assault against a senior official in the national government by forces believed to have been from the new nations military.

An armed group, allegedly members Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), beat up Jok Madut Jok, an undersecretary in the country’s ministry of culture, at Wau airport on 31 December, Sudan Tribune has been told.

South Sudan, which became independent in July, has a checkered human rights record with journalists and the country’s top UN human rights official being badly beaten by security forces in 2011.

The attack on the senior official, occurred when he arrived at Wau airport from Juba, on the same day that President Salva Kiir was passing through on the way back from his Christmas holiday in his home state of Warrap.

The reason for the attack is unclear. The Western Bahr el Ghazal state minister of information was not able to give Sudan Tribune an explanation.

Akot Mayen, a resident of Wau, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that witnessed soldiers wearing SPLA uniform beating up Jok outside the airport.

“I was surprised when I saw Professor Jok Madut Jok being beaten and wrestled down by a group of soldiers yesterday. I thought he had committed a crime that would warrant military intervention […] I was not expecting that the soldiers could mercilessly beat him like the way I saw it considering that he is a senior government official”, he explained.

In a statement to Sudan Tribune on Sunday Jok remarked that the incident showed the was “no freedom” in South Sudan despite the country gaining independence from north Sudan in July.

Decades of civil war, in which 2 million died and 4 million were displaced, led to South Sudan’s secession as part of a 2005 peace deal.

Jok said he arrived in Wau on Saturday morning hoping to celebrate New Year’s Eve with his family but was attacked by SPLA soldiers before he could enter the car his two brothers had come in to collect him.

The official said he believes that he was beaten up by the SPLA soldiers, who were supposed to be securing the airport, as his arrival coincided with the time when the President was expected to land from his Christmas holiday in Akon.

“I was brutally attacked, my arms tight by several men, a blow to the side of my head with the butt of a gun and several punches straight onto both of my eyes, no questions asked, not even any accusations of wrong doing.”

Jok said that he tried to show “the soldiers my identity card, demonstrating that I am a senior official in the national government, undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture, and the ID was thrown away and several men wrestled me to the ground.”

The solders were operating a “torture first” policy, without asking any questions, leaving Jok with a “bloodied eye, bruised face and a concussion”, he said.

“I was left shocked and in pain, but I was eventually let go, no explanation, no apologies. So the physical pain was unbearable, but it was nothing compared to the pain in the soul of a citizen, whose travels abroad and the abuses we encountered in Foreign countries were all endured because of the dream of a homeland, a free one such as do have now”, he said.

He argued that it was ironic that the SPLA could do this to one of its own people having fought so long for the freedom to be an independent nation.

The physical pain and the humiliation bore no weight, he said, compared to disillusionment that this was the country he had “yearned for all my life”.

“It is especially painful and worrying that it all unfolded right in front of army officers forming a jeering spectator of my abuse, of a civilian being treated worse than one of those thieving dogs that the entire neighborhood wants to kill.

“And here I was, someone who is supposedly their colleague in the service of the same nation these soldier work for, appointed by the same president they were supposedly protecting. With the responsibility of a senior civil servant, I was being hit, kicked, called a ’traitor from Khartoum’,” he said.

He claimed that he did not fight back out of respect for the uniform of country’s army, as it was an emblem of sovereignty but that the soldiers read this as “cowardice or weakness”.

Jok said he expects that “all of this will probably be investigated and apologies will be issued, but nothing will take the pain away.”

“If this sort of thing happens to a senior government official, what we should imagine happens to ordinary citizens”, he asked.

He observed that while seated on the floor, being interrogated, several soldiers who he believed to be drunk, repeatedly interrupted their officer. However, instead of reprimanding them, Jok says that the officer told him “you see, they may be drunk, but that is how we liberated this country.”

Jok concluded his statement to Sudan Tribune by saying:

“There is that phrase, so commonly used as justification for misconduct. We liberated it is now thrown in your face left and right, even if it means taking the liberty to be drunk on the job, loot public property, claim entitlement for a job one is not qualified for, beat or even shoot to kill civilians over nonsense.”

(ST)

http://www.sudantribune.com/South-Sudan-probes-beating-of,41162

South Sudan: Sorry Undersecretary of Culture Prof. Jok
AllAfrica.com
Jok Madut Jok, Undersecretary of Ministry of Culture for the unfortunate incident in which he was beaten, manhandled and harassed by the Presidential guards of HE the President of the Republic ofSouth Sudan President Salva Kiir at Wau Airport. 

South Sudan: Responses On the Narration of Jok Madut Jok, Undersecretary of 
AllAfrica.com
 beaten in the hands of security people no one from the government could believe, what has happened now to the top government official showed the conduct of the army, police and any security organ in the new nation towards citizens of South Sudan

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Joseph Alak says:

    Dr. Jok, we sympathize with you, they did this to you, in the name of protecting the prisendent, Sorry, but please never let go of them make sure they are brought to Justice.

    Like

  2. Sorry- Dr Jok for what happened to you in your area Wau not even whole South Sudan.
    Our soldiers need time to understand and they suppose to learn how to ask people b4 torture anyone,but they didn’t.So take care for yourself.

    Like

  3. John Rin Ahang Beny says:

    One hell of a way to ring in the New Year! Wow, soldiers, sworn to serve as well as protect, drunk whilst on duty and brandishing loaded weapons. Plenty of individuals in the Diaspora who were well–trained by Western militaries would jump at the chance to help professionalize South Sudan’s armed forces. However, upon our arrival home, we’re ignored, ostracized, shunned, told we’re not needed and to go away, etc. This unfortunate incident should never have happened to Dr Jok and/or average, ID–less citizens before him. Hypothetical question here: What next, are the perpetrators to be summarily executed by Tusker–adled comrades without due process? I pray we can work through all the fits and starts that new nation–states face minus a whole lot of battered bodies or bloodshed.

    Like

  4. Samuel A Anei says:

    Dear Dr Jok Madut Jok,

    I believe that our soldiers need more training to work in public places like airport where we are expecting big shots government officials like yourself,NGOS,Clergymen and foriegn diplomats. The only faces our soldiers know are those commanders who were with them during civil war between north and southern Sudan.Iam very sorry such incident happened to you and your brothers.

    I would like to apprise those soldiers who claim the have liberated southern Sudan without writers like yourself. I know you had written so many books about war and slavery in Sudan.Without your effort here in the west black and white in particular USA we would have not achieved CPA.You had work hard more then those who claim the have liberated Soutrhern Sudan.Iam sorry such humiliations are still happening in South Sudan.

    Samuel Akol Anei,
    USA.

    Like

  5. Chris Eagan says:

    Dr. Jok was my professor during my undergraduate studies so it so disheartening to hear this story because I can understand his heartache. Jok is a noble man rising to the occasion to lend his talents in the infancy of this new nation. This incident is a reminder of how messy freedom can be, and yet the cause for which Jok is sacrificing is worth it, so I will be hoping Jok continues to struggle for his new homeland. The opportunity of Southern Sudan will require every person to give their best effort; remembering that treating every member of their new nation with dignity and respect is the only foundation for a new nation worth fighting for. Until others are able to rise to the occasion we must look in awe at people such as Dr. Jok who have already accepted the challenge.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s