S Sudan court frees four top accused leaders

2014-04-25 13:35

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Juba - South Sudan on Friday released four top leaders accused of rebellion and treason, dropping charges for attempting to overthrow the government in a move aimed at ending a four-month-old civil war.

The court order said the men were released "in order to promote peace and reconciliation among our people".

An AFP reporter at the court said the four men were greeted by cheering supporters, who lifted them up onto their shoulders into the crowd.

The detention of the four had been a major sticking point in peace talks, and the gesture comes as the leaders on both sides of the conflict face the threat of UN sanctions amid worsening violence and atrocities.

The four are Pagan Amum, former secretary general of the ruling party, ex-national security minister Oyai Deng Ajak, former ambassador to the US Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, and ex-deputy defence minister Majak D'Agoot.

Fighting escalated

The four leaders were arrested in Juba after fighting broke out between members of the presidential guard. The fighting rapidly escalated into all-out war between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and defectors and ethnic militia loyal to sacked vice president Riek Machar.

Kiir accused Machar and his allies of attempting a coup, and initially 11 of his loyalists were put on trial.

Machar denied the allegation, and in turn has branded Kiir a "genocidal leader" who started the war by carrying out a purge.

Charges remain against Machar, who fled the capital and is leading the rebellion, as well as other two key rebels, former governor of the oil-rich Unity state Taban Deng, and ex-minister Alfred Ladu Gore.

However, charges were also dropped against seven leaders who were arrested shortly after fighting broke out but were released in January into the care of neighbouring Kenya.

The move comes amid worsening violence in South Sudan, the world's newest nation which only won independence from Khartoum in 2011.

The conflict has already left thousands dead, over a million displaced, and prompted UN warnings of the risk of famine.

Both sides have also been implicated in atrocities and war crimes, and fighting has intensified with the rebels saying they are closing in on northern oil fields and several key towns.

Last week the rebels were accused of murdering hundreds of civilians after capturing the oil hub of Bentiu, and a mob killed dozens of civilians in an attack on a UN base in Bor where they were sheltering.

Read more on:    un  |  riek machar  |  salva kiir  |  south sudan  |  east africa  |  security
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.