Juba — South Sudan's Office of the President has confirmed the arrest of several ex-ministers, saying they are being investigated for taking part in an alleged coup plot.
The presidency has confirmed that Oyai Deng Ajak, Gier Chuang, Majak d'Agoot, and Madut Bair, among other ousted officials, are being held at the house of Inspector-General of Police Pieng Deng Kuol, as reported by Radio Tamazuj this morning.
Others said to be at the house are Deng Alor, Kosti Manibe, Cirino Hiteng, John Luk and former Lakes governor Chol Tong Mayay.
"This is about the law. Somebody violating the law should be investigated," said presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny.
The spokesman told Radio Tamazuj that the whereabouts of former vice president Riek Machar are unknown at this time, saying it was not clear whether he had taken refuge somewhere or fled the city.
"There's no official confirmation as to whether he's left the city," he said.
Ateny downplayed the severity of clashes earlier in the day in the Amarat neighborhood where Riek's residence is located.
"One soldier who happened to be one of the body guards of Machar ran away and was surrounded, and the situation was controlled," he explained.
He acknowledged though that the vice-president's house had been searched.
The president's spokesman also denied that the government had sought the arrest of Rebecca Garang, widow of the founder of SPLM.
Kiir 'categorically forbid' her arrest, said the spokesman.
The late John Garang's widow had been a contender for the SPLM chairmanship in the internal party deliberations carried out of late.