By William Madouk Garang
The South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF)’s general headquarter has promised justice for late Lt. Col, Bullen Yuma Sebastian who mysteriously died in a military detention in Yei last week.
Late Sebastian was arrested on Thursday and taken to Amiya (army barracks) in Yei where he was detained only for the news of his death to surface on Saturday morning.
Yesterday, Bilpham disclosed that the area commander has been directed to compile a report and submit to army leadership to pave way for thorough investigation.
“I was told he [Sebastian] went to Yei without departure order and he was arrested for malingering, and how he ended up dying in the cell this is what we do not know,” Maj-Gen Lul Ruai, the army spokesperson said.
“So, we first wait to get to the point or a report to be sent by the area commander telling us exactly what has happened,” he added.
He further narrated that any deed not endorsed by the army leadership is considered as an individual act, asserting that if he was found guilty for absconding duty the punishment shouldn’t have tantamount to his killing.
“Justice will be done and that is the beginning – the beginning point is directing area commander to compile the report, and when the report reaches Chief of Defense Forces or CDF, I am very sure he will know what to do next,” Ruai assured.
“If the late was [found] guilty for malingering, I am sure that the punishment for malingering is not equivalent to death. So we will go down to the business once we get a report from the area commander,” he clarified.
According to the army, late Sebastian was deployed in Kapoeta County of Eastern Equatoria State, Camp 15 as his duty post under 7th Infantry Division.
Meanwhile, a closest relative whose name remain anonymous told media earlier that the late Sebastian had no any medical complications but succumbed to death due to brutal torture.
On the same note, Yei Commissioner, Aggrey Kanyikwa confirmed in a statement that the late officer died in a military custody, adding that he was arrested in Yei by the military to answer questions for escaping duty.
“His detention occurred on August 11, 2022, and he was found dead this morning [Saturday] morning at 5 am in the detention cell,” Kanyikwa earlier said.
The Yei Commissioner further stated that more details about his death were not yet released and urged the public and the bereaved family to remain calm.
Calls for justice
Yet, on Monday last week youth from Central Equatoria State’s Yei River County were demanding answers from the State government over the death of Sebastian who was also a renowned gospel singer.
“We want to know what [killed him]. “Up to now, there has not been any report from the military barracks in Yei on how he was killed,” a resident who sought anonymity was quoted saying.
“We hope that investigations are going on so that we get to know what happened,” he added.
Johnson Poru Hilary the chairperson of youth in Yei said “I am expecting that all the institutions that are involved in any kind of the investigation will be very transparent, so that we get to know what happened”.
Kakwa community also issued press statement demanding for urgent and transparent justice to be carried out and the culprit to be apprehended immediately.
“Justice demands that SSPDF elements in Yei and those who helped or facilitated the extremist act of the criminal to be severely be punished through military court martial or before competent court,” reads part of the Kawka statement.
Meanwhile, civil society activist, Edmund Yakani had condemned the killing and urged the army to instantly conduct investigation and hold the perpetrators accountable.