National, News

Activist gains freedom

By William Madouk

Aweil civil society activist and three other Catholic University students have been released from Military Intelligence (MI) detention.

Samuel Garang Dut and colleagues where given liberty after an investigation committee found them innocent.

Arrested in November 2022 at the university campus, Dut and colleagues spent nine months under investigation before finally walking to freedom.

They were accused of having affiliation with and communication with the South Sudan United Front and Army (SSUF/A), allied to General Paul Malong Awan.

In a release order seen by this outlet, SSPDF Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Santino Deng Wol directed the director of MI combat operations to acquit the detainees after they were found blameless.

“By this order, please release free the four (4) students who were arrested in Juba on alleged membership and participation in SSUF/A rebel activities, who were later confirmed innocent by the convened committee tasked with investigation, the order reads.

As per the order, among those released are Madut Arang Madut, Majok Garang Uguak, Charles Chan Madut, and Samuel Garang.

As activist Dut, after being set free, appreciated President Salva Kiir and Gen. Santino Deng for hearing their voices, he cites that there was no way he could go to the bush or associate himself with any rebel group.

“I want to tell the public that I will never become what they heard of me; I will never go to the bush as a rebel, as it has been alleged. I will continue giving my opinions within and not in the bush,” said Samuel.

Dut also distances himself from the armed groups, saying his opponents were behind the accusation.

“I have no link with Gen. Malong or any rebel group. The public should also understand that this was the intention of my political opponents to tarnish my good image,” he added.

In January 2023, General Paul Malong Awan delinked himself from the detained civil society activist, Samuel Garang Dut, citing that he doesn’t have any active members in the capital, Juba.

Dut’s wife, Achol Athiang, earlier also denied any link between her spouse and rebel leader Gen. Malong and called for the unconditional release of her husband.

The activist was dragged to court on defamation charges by Northern Bahr El Ghazal State Governor Tong Akeen Ngor in April 2021.

This was after a post on his Facebook page accusing and criticizing the governor of constructing a private house in Juba using alleged stolen public funds.

Samuel was found guilty in June 2021 by the high court in Aweil town and served an eight-month sentence. He was also ordered to pay SSP 2 million as compensation to the state governor in the defamation case.


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