8 December 2012

South Sudan: Mother of the Late South Sudanese Columnist, Isaiah Abraham - He Was 'Fighting for Freedom'

Photo: http://www.crs.gov
Media (file photo).

Juba — Rebecca Lueth Wel, the mother of former member of South Sudan army (SPLA) turned leading critical opinion writer, Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol, has expressed her grief regarding the death of her son, who was killed on Tuesday.

Abraham was shot in his house in Gudele area of Juba, west of the city centre by unknown assailant(s).

"Isaiah is my fourth son to die. Three of his brothers apart from cousins have been taken by this land. They were all fighting for freedom and independence of this country. I thought God left him behind for me," Wel told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

"I have seen deaths. I lost his father when he [Abrham] was still young. I also lost his brothers and I was specifically grieved when I lost his father and later brothers but I was always feeling that God has left him for me. He was always providing advice and said 'look, mama, there is nothing we can do. God gave them to you and the same God has taken them'", Wel explained.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Friday expressed its "deep concern" regarding the killing Abraham, and reiterated its strong support for freedom of expression as a cornerstone of democracy and conveyed its condolences to all the members of Abraham's family.

On the same day three journalists from Gurtong, for whom Abrham wrote, were detained but South Sudanese security services,

Information and broadcasting minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, told the press on Friday that the Interior Minister had briefed the National Council of Ministers, saying that they have begun investigations into the murder and they "suspect 70% to be assassination." He also described the murder as "barbaric" and expressed the Council of Ministers deep condolences.

President Salva Kiir has extended his condolences to the family members and ordered a full and thorough investigation into the matter.

Immediate family members, relatives and friends say his body will be laid to rest on 9 December in his ancestral village; Kongor of Jonglei state.

Abraham was killed when his mother was in Yirol, Lakes state, on a crusading campaign. She returned on Thursday and officially received the news from the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan, Daniel Deng Bul.

The executive director of the South Sudan Human Right Advocacy Association, Biel Butrous Biel, challenged the government on Friday to prove that it was not involved.

Comparing the death of late Isaiah with the death of late John Garang, who founded the rebel movement turned ruling political party, Sudan People's Liberation Movement, Biel said on Friday Abraham was killed by South Sudan's enemies.

"Personally, I will never stop airing my views out until the assassins are prosecuted and convicted to life imprisonment. [...] there is no silence anymore, either the state kills the way it did brother Isaiah, or it brings the killers to account. With or without others, I am ready to meet my fate, death is a matter of minutes and whether by nature or default, it will one day come to all of us including these cowardly killers of Isaiah from the state agents," said Biel from Kampala.

According to Biel "the state has killed Isaiah and let the state just find out who killed him among its branches. If there is denial, let the state prove its case against our assertion which I doubt they will never."

He explained that the South Sudan government anticipates outcry over the death for a short period before "life is as usual," as with the "kidnapping of the Alliance leader, Deng Athuai" but claimed that "time they are wrong, there is no silence anymore, one has to follow Isaiah so soon or justice is done."

Chairman of the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance, Athuai, claimed to have been kidnapped at gunpoint, suffered "unbearable treatment" and interrogated in October. Before his kidnap he led a campaign to uncover the names of 75 former and current officials accused by Kiir of embezzling US$4 billion of the nation's funds.

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