South Sudan: Organized Forces Warned Against ‘Extorting Money from Citizens’ at Night

The organized forces have been warned against setting up unauthorized checkpoints at night within Juba city to harass and extort money from civilians.

This comes after some soldiers allegedly mounted illegal checkpoints on Monday along Nyakorun East – Atla Bara road, Southwest of the University of Juba.

Victims and eyewitnesses identified the men as members of the joint operation unit by their mixed uniforms.

One of the victims, Joseph – not his real name, told local broadcaster Eye Radio, he was stopped while driving home at around 7: 30 PM on Monday.

He had forgotten his car logbook.

As tried to call a family member, his phone was grabbed, and the soldiers ordered him to check his bag containing some money.

He said the soldiers then demanded some money before releasing him.

“Yesterday [Monday] around 7:30 PM, I was going back home on that road of Atla Bara, like you’re coming from the University of Juba, I was riding a motorcycle,” one of the victims told Eye Radio.

“In my bag, I had an office laptop, and 50,000 pounds, they told me that the government has introduced a new law that prohibited civilians from carrying more than 20,000 pounds at night,

“They then told me they will take the money from me because it’s illegal according to the government. They asked me to give them 5,000 pounds, and when I saw those people were drunk I gave them money and they told me to go.”

Responding to the complaint, the spokesperson of the police questioned why the citizens do not report such incidents.

Major General Daniel Justin told Eye Radio, there is a full unit meant to follow such cases to hold to account these individuals.

“We have a full unit to monitor the behavior of the soldiers which is the standard police unit, when we receive a complaint, we give them the alert, and then they will follow it,” Maj Gen. Justin told Eye Radio.

“We have informed our citizens several times that the media can publish this thing and is not a solution, instead of complaint to Eye Radio, they are supposed to complain to us,

“In this case when it comes to us, we will follow it till we find those people.  We have dismissed some of those soldiers and some of them in the prisons right.”

For his part, the spokesperson of the SSPDF, Major General Lul Ruai, says such behavior is unacceptable and encouraged victims to report the officers to a nearby army garrison

“It should be reported to the nearest authority, you know its joint operations, so there is no monopoly by one unit and that’s why all the forces have been brought together to do the work,” said Gen. Lul.

“If our citizens have been robbed or a soldier extorted money, then whoever has been affected should report to the nearest police station or SSPDF. There is one post at Customs for police and also national security,

“Anybody that been affected by this irresponsible individual at night should report it immediately because it’s corruption, is not acceptable,

“They [organized forces] are supposed to check on people carrying illegal, fair armed and other prohibited items like drugs but it is not the right to extort money from members of the public.”

According to the law, it is not the prerogative of the army, but rather which of the traffic police to deal with motorists.

Additional Reporting by: Eye Radio

Chol Mawel