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Four South Sudanese MPs, minister arrested over absence in parliament

Four South Sudanese MPs, minister arrested over absence in parliament

South Sudan

Four Members of Parliament and a minister in South Sudan’s Gok State were arrested for allegedly being absent at a parliamentary caucus sitting on Friday.

According to another MP John Marik Makur, the officials were arrested by the security services for failing to attend the sitting, he told local Eye Radio.

“The members who have been arrested were in the town. Some of them went for private businesses; some to the hospital but did not know there was a sitting,” he was quoted by Eye Radio on Sunday.

The officials include Minister of Physical infrastructure Ayen Maan Ador, the parliamentary chief whip Santino Manyiel Mading, and MPs Simon Mayar Marial, Malek Machot Padai, Ater Machar.

John Marik Makur said the officials were not aware of the sitting and were arrested on their way home after having a misunderstanding with the State’s governor.

The Speaker of Parliament Umjima Phili confirmed the arrests but told the media that they were detained for conducting an illegal meeting outside parliament.

It is not clear if they have been released and if charges have been levelled against them.

The Gok State is one of the restive areas in South Sudan where sporadic fighting takes place.

South Sudan has been ravaged by civil war since 2013, after President Salva Kiir fired his deputy Riek Machar, who is currently leading the armed opposition.

The conflict has killed thousands of people and driven more than 2 million from their homes.

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