SSPDF Spokesperson Gen. Lul Ruai Koang. (File photo)

SSPDF confirms arrest of Brigadier for Kuajok container deaths as Warrap forms investigation committee

SSPDF Spokesperson Gen. Lul Ruai Koang on Thursday confirmed the arrest of the three army officers, including a Brigadier, over the death of seven detainees who suffocated to death in a shipping container they were locked in Kuajok, Warrap State last Sunday night.

SSPDF Spokesperson Gen. Lul Ruai Koang on Thursday confirmed the arrest of the three army officers, including a Brigadier, over the death of seven detainees who suffocated to death in a shipping container they were locked in Kuajok, Warrap State last Sunday night.

Sources who spoke to Radio on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals said the deceased were locked in a 20-foot shipping container on Sunday and when it was opened the next day, they were found dead.

Gen. Ruai however qualified that it is the responsibility of the state government to handle the matter.

“Let me give you background information about the incident that happened at the Eleventh Infantry Division. First of all, the primary responsibility lies with the Warrap State government. What happened was that seven suspects, including two from the SSPDF, who were accused of crimes ranging from cattle raiding to murder were handed to us (SSPDF) by state authorities to keep them in our facility. Of course, one suspect was killed by a firing squad according to a local arrangement contained in Green Book,” he explained. “We detained the now seven deceased men in our military cells because we have many facilities for custody compared to the Warrap State government and we have is little (information) leakages at our site.”

Gen. Ruai added: “However, instead of detaining the suspects in a proper facility, they were put in a container without ventilation and as a result, they died of suffocation and that was a mistake by the site commander.”

He said the responsible officers are now in custody and will account for their actions.

“What we were doing was to keep the suspects for state authorities but it went terribly wrong,” Gen. Ruai concluded.

The authorities in Warrap State on Thursday said Governor Kuol Muor Muor formed a five-man committee to investigate the deaths of seven people who died in detention at a military facility in the state capital Kuajok.

Warrap State Information Minister William Wol Mayom told this publication Tuesday that eight suspects charged with murder and raiding cattle from Tonj North and Gogrial East counties were kept in a shipping container at a facility of the SSPDF’s Eleventh Infantry Division in Kuajok. However, when their health condition deteriorated due to asphyxia, they were rushed to Kuajok Hospital on Monday night. Seven of the detainees passed away and one is in the hospital in critical condition.

On Thursday he said the state government promptly set up a five-man committee to investigate the matter.

“The investigative committee is headed by the State Legal Advisor, deputized by the State Police Commissioner, The State Attorney or Legal Prosecutor will be the committee’s secretary,” he said. The other members are the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and National Security representative in the state. This investigative body was tasked to report their findings to the governor within seven days.”

Wol said a Brigadier in charge of the SSPDF Brigade at the Baruot Military Base in Kuajok and two of his two junior officers have been arrested for illegally detaining the deceased at a military facility without the consent of state authorities.

“Another intervention was the immediate arrest of the Brigadier General who is responsible for Brigade 4 in Barpuot, a captain responsible for military custody and one Military Intelligence officer, for the unauthorized detention of civilians at a military facility without the knowledge of the governor and also because the facility has no ventilation,” he added.