Soldiers in South Sudan have been detaining civilians on charges of having links with rebels from Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO). SPLM has now joined the government of national unity. Those detained are held in shipping containers at the Groom detention site, located about 20km south of the capital Juba.
The above-mentioned revelations came after Amnesty International issued a report in which the detention and suffocation of 60 men were reported in shipping containers near Leer in October last year.
Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Muthoni Wanyeki said, “Detainees are suffering in appalling conditions and their overall treatment is nothing short of torture. This egregious disregard for human life and dignity must stop and for that to happen, the detention site should be immediately shut down until conditions are brought into compliance with human rights standards.” It has also been reported that detainees have no access to water, and are fed only twice a week.
Amnesty International has received satellite images of containers brought on site in November 2015. Amnesty has asked the government of South Sudan to bring forward appropriate charges against all detainees, while providing appropriate judicial inquiries and releasing those who are not at fault. Major-General Marial Nour was sent a request by Amnesty to provide details over the Groom detention site, while also providing names of all those being detained.
Wanyeki further said, “President Kiir should order an independent investigation into this site and into military intelligence detention practices generally, with a view to reforming the practices and ensuring that those responsible for torture, death or enforced disappearances are held accountable.”