NSS soldiers on a pickup somewhere in South Sudan | File photo

Watch dog names NSS in gross human rights violations

After being granted sweeping security powers in 2014, South Sudan’s National Security Services (NSS) the intelligence wing of the government is being implicated in wanton abuses of human rights including grave torture of critics.

This was revealed Thursday in the latest report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) accusing NSS operatives of arbitrarily arresting and torturing human rights defenders and journalists.

Nyagoah Tut Pur, the South Sudan Researcher at Human Rights Watch says that authorities continued to infringe on freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly in the youngest nation.

The report says that among those unlawfully detained critics include, Kuel Aguer Kuel, the former Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, and Abraham Chol Maketh, a clergyman.

 The duo has been held in detention since late 2021 on trumped up accusation by the state of sabotage and undermining South Sudan’s constitution.

HRW called on judicial authorities to ensure the two men are produced in court to secure fair trial.

The NSS Act provides the security operatives with virtually unfettered authority to arrest and detain suspects, monitor communications, conduct searches, and seize property.

HRW also discloses that in March, unidentified armed individuals abducted a journalist in Juba, and transferred him to an undisclosed location where he was interrogated and forced to confess his affiliation to the People’s Coalition for Civil Action, and the rebel group National Salvation Front.
It documents the August 7 incident in which the police and NSS agents shot at and forcefully arrested seven people in Konyo Konyo market in Juba who were protesting the rising cost of living.

“The security agents shot at protesters, injuring one person on the leg, and beat others. The police arrested Diing Magot, a freelance journalist with Voice of America who was interviewing the protesters,” it says.

When contacted for comment, David John Kumuri, Spokesperson for Internal Bureau of NSS said the report was inaccurate and unedifying.

 “But the allegations are inaccurate and unedifying stance, operational principles, standards, best practices and the core values as well as ethical conduct and execution of the service’s mandate in accordance with the constitution and the law,” he said.

Kumuri added that NSS operates within the laws and constitution of the country.

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