A cattle auction market in Wau. (Courtesy photo)

Family of arrested Wau livestock auction deputy chairperson demands his release

The family of the detained deputy chairperson of the Wau Eastern Bank Livestock Auction Center in Western Bahr el Ghazal State has called on the state authorities to unconditionally release him or charge and arraign him in court.

The family of the detained deputy chairperson of the Wau Eastern Bank Livestock Auction Center in Western Bahr el Ghazal State has called on the state authorities to unconditionally release him or charge and arraign him in court.

William Wol Abang was arrested by the police’s Criminal Investigation Department on 28 March on allegations that he was dividing the livestock auction center into two entities, with one branch in Bahr-Abik of Jur River County.

The auction center which was established in 1993 to sell livestock comprises several members drawn from the Apuk Giir section of Warrap State, Wan Bai members from Jur River County, and is administered by the Wau Municipality Council.

Since the conflict erupted between the Marial-Bai and ApuK Giir communities last year, a section of the Apuk Giir Community who work within the auction center raised complaints that they are being segregated by their colleagues from Marial-Bai.

Last month, the tensions forced the Apuk Giir Community to move out of the auction center at the Eastern Bank of Wau and they established a new center in Bahr-Abik in the eastern part of Jur River County with William Wol Abang as the chairman of the new center.   

The new auction center has been paying fees and taxes to Jur River County as opposed to Wau Municipal Council as was the practice in the recent past. As a result, Wau town authorities under the leadership of Deputy Governor Zackaria Joseph Garang ordered the Jur River County commissioner to close down the new center.     

Last week, Jur River County Commissioner James Ernest Makuei issued an order closing down the new auction center. However, the traders resisted the order and said their rights were not respected at Wau Eastern Bank Livestock Auction Center where they claimed to be segregated by their colleagues from Marial-Bai within the administration.  

With the action taken by the traders to create a new auction center, the local authorities decided to arrest William Wol Abang and two others. They were told to close down the new center and return to the Wau Eastern Bank Livestock Auction Center.

Addressing the press on Thursday morning, Wol’s two wives said their husband was arrested on 28 March 2024 by the police on the orders of the deputy governor.

“My husband was first arrested on 14 March and was released on 18 and was again rearrested on 28 March. We need the law to prove what he has taken from somebody. We have learned that he was arrested by somebody called Will,” Suzana Adau, Wol’s second wife, explained and added: “We know William Wol Abang was just the deputy chairperson of the auction center at the eastern bank. The auction has been divided into two, others are in Bahr-Abik and the other one remains in the eastern bank of the river.”

“My message is that let him be taken to court to prove himself before the law,” Adau added.

She revealed that Wol has 6 wives and 27 children who now have no food because he is in detention.

Meanwhile, Wol’s first wife, Mary Akau, said the continued incarceration of her husband has badly impacted his large family.

“He has now been in custody for seven days now and our situation as his wives and that of our children is very bad,” she lamented. “There is no one to bring us water and food because William Wol has now spent seven days in jail. Let the one who arrested him bring him to court.”

Attempts to reach the police for comment on the matter were unsuccessful.