[QODLink]
Africa

S Sudan frees seven detainees accused of coup

The prisoners, who were part of a group of 11 men accused of plotting a coup, have been handed to neighbouring Kenya.

Last updated: 29 Jan 2014 21:02
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

South Sudan has freed seven political figures who had been arrested on suspicion of plotting a coup, partially meeting a rebel demand made at peace talks focused on ending weeks of fighting.

The seven, who were handed over to neighbouring Kenya, were among a group of 11 detained after fighting broke out in Juma, the capital, in mid-December and spread across the world's newest country.

At a news conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Wednesday, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta stood beside the freed men and called on South Sudan's rival sides to end a dispute that has killed thousands of civilians.
Follow our in-depth coverage of South Sudan

"We don't feel bitter, we don't feel the president is our enemy," one of the freed men, South Sudan's former justice minister John Luk Jok, told reporters in Nairobi.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir accused his former Vice President Riek Machar of starting the fighting in a bid to seize power.

Kiir and Riek's factions signed a ceasefire deal last week.

Machar, who is in hiding, denies the charge and accuses Kiir of using an outburst of violence in the presidential guard to round up his political rivals.

Kiir has since been under intense pressure from regional powers, Washington and the United Nations to respond to Machar's demand to free all 11 detainees to push forward shaky peace talks taking place in Ethiopia.

Justice Minister Paulino Wanawilla Unago said the detainees would be in Kenya for the duration of the investigation "for their own safety" but will return to face trial.

In a separate development, a ceasefire agreement is to be signed in Ethiopia between the government and another rebel leader, David Yau Yau, sources said. According to government officials, Yau Yau has a 15,000-strong militia.

Government officials told Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid that the agreement would be another piece of the puzzle towards a comprehensive agreement and political reconciliation.

324

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.