1st October 2020
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Kiir’s office says Peter Biar ‘paranoid’ over ‘death squad’ allegations

Author: Garang Abraham Malaak | Published: Friday, August 7, 2020

Ateny Wek Ateny [Center] reads a statement on Friday August 7, 2020 in Juba to debunk activist Peter Biar's allegations that the President wants him dead. PHOTO//Office of the President

The Office of the President has described the recent allegations by activist Peter Biar that the President wanted him dead as made up stories to facilitate his asylum to the United States.

In a tweeter post on 23rd of July, Biar who is now in the United States alleges that a “death squad” was sent either to abduct him from Kenya or murder him.

Biar thanked US President Donald Trump for what he described as “providing refuge to me, my wife, and our three young children.”

Biar together with philanthropist, late Kerbino Wol were pardoned by President Salva Kiir in January after spending several months in jail.

The court in Juba had charged Biar with incitement and disturbing the peace. He was sentenced to 2 years for violating section 48/80, 2, b of the panel code of 2008.

But Kiir ordered for their release in a New Year goodwill gesture. They were among 30 inmates released from prisons across the country.

Peter Biar left Juba for Nairobi where he lived with his family until his departure to the US late last month.

While in the US, Biar called for the removal of President Salva Kiir through general elections and targeted sanctions.

In an opinion piece titled; “My Escape to America Shows the Price of Dissent in South Sudan” -published on 23 July 2020 by the Wall Street Journal, Biar described President Kiir as a dictator “working instead to build a powerful and repressive security apparatus with one mission—to keep him in power.”

In response to the allegations, the Press Secretary in the Office of the President accused Biar of being paranoid following the death of Kerubino Wol, who was also an inmate with him.

“A careful scrutiny of the above allegations leads to the conclusion that Peter made up this story, Ateny Wek Ateny asserted.

“His only problem is fear itself and such paranoia is the genesis of his return to the US, the current media blitz, and a call for sanctions and an increase in internationally sponsored protection forces in South Sudan.”

Ateny further told the media in Juba, Friday, that the government does not pursue those pardoned.

“Prisoners of war, political detainees and those with other forgivable offences including Peter were released pardoned and thus the State has no interest in pursuing, monitoring or harming him,” he maintained.

He purported that Biar was only seeking reentry into the US after allegedly losing his residency and Green card to the US Department of Homeland Security for having overstayed outside the US.

But Peter Biar had stated that while in Nairobi, he “was forced into hiding after allegedly being told by senior government officials in South Sudan that assassins were actively looking for him.

The activist alleged that a hit squad in a tinted vehicle with a South Sudanese number visited his Nairobi apartment before he went into hiding.

In a dismissive tone, Ateny said, “This allegation does not stand intelligence tradition.”

“No government with this kind of intention would be this bold and daring to pursue a dissident in a foreign country using means that best implicates it,” he added.

In his letter, Biar insisted that he couldn’t take the threat on his light lightly considering “I had been a political prisoner in South Sudan, convicted a show trial…and sentenced to two years in prison.”

The activist believes South Sudanese are now “desperate to hold Mr. Kiir accountable for his failed leadership” through voting in leaders will “secure a just and lasting peace.”

He demanded the amendment of the UN peacekeeping mission’s mandate to ensure voters’ safety during elections and a road map to presidential elections -that entails a new constitution, electoral laws and a new independent National Elections Commission.

Friday’s statement by the Office of the President affirmed that the government plans to hold national elections in 2023.

It concluded that in the meantime, the government will work with stakeholders to implement the peace agreement towards a promising transition and path to democracy.

Kiir’s office reiterated its commitment to peace, good governance, the rule of law, and democracy.

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