1 August 2014

South Sudan: S. Sudanese Civil Society Leader Shot By Unknown Gunman

Juba — An unidentified gunman shot and injured the head of South Sudan's civil society alliance, Deng Athuai, on Friday, forcing several people flee for their own safety.

Eyewitnesses say Athuai was shot in the thigh at South African park at around 8.30pm (local time) as he left the place for his hotel in the capital, Juba.

He was rushed to Juba teaching hospital after the incident, described as "unfortunate" by close relatives.

This are the second attempt on Athuai's life after he was first kidnapped at gunpoint in 2011 from the Juba-based Nile Beach hotel where he was living at the time.

"This is [an] unfortunate development. Deng Athuai is a very respectful person. He is someone who is objective and polite and I don't know why this is happening," presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told Sudan Tribune after confirming the Juba shooting.

Ateny stressed the government would do its best to identify the culprit and establish the cause of the targeted shooting even though it was not fatal.

"The assailant has not been apprehended. The person just disappeared and nobody knows where this person had gone," said Deng Acuil, an eyewitness who was present at the crime scene told Sudan Tribune.

"We were all shock[ed] by the incident. Nobody had ever thought such a thing would happen," he added.

Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding Friday's attack, but are yet to establish a motive.

Athuai was vocal in his criticism of the different factions of South Sudan's warring parties during the last round of negotiations in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. He accused the two warring parties, as well as the group of former detained leaders, of looting the country's wealth and causing the current crisis.

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