By Radio Tamazuj:
A former deputy director at South Sudan’s National Ministry of Information and veteran journalist was kidnapped and killed by unknown gunmen at Kerepi area along the Juba-Nimule road in June, according to his wife.
Lucy Jua said that her husband Isaac Vuni was kidnapped in June but she did not learn about the death of her husband until last week. She believes he was killed shortly after his abduction last June.
One of the sons of the late Vuni informed his wife of his death last Thursday. “We don’t know whether it was the government or who because everybody is quiet, there is no information, his son came and informed us that he was killed shortly after being kidnapped in June,” she said.
“We did not know, but we received information that a group of six men in uniform came, they had guns, so they took him together with his cousin brother, so this is the information we got, it is unclear whether they are government or SPLA-IO, he was taken from home at Kerepi area, he was found dumped in somebody’s farm there,” she explained.
“On Thursday we were informed that he was killed, but there is no information, two youth or three found him dead, so they buried him; we don’t even know where he was buried, no information up to now,” she added.
Isaac Vuni had been a contributor to Sudan Tribune online daily but he had stopped several years ago, according to his wife. Lucy Jua said that he had had some kind of land dispute but she did not know whether this was connected to his death in any way.
“He had a land dispute in the area, and this is a problem I know, but I do not know how far they have gone with this land dispute,” she said. “Since last year he used to call us saying there was a man who refused to vacate his land, so I advised him to leave that issue of land because there was no money to build a house, but he told me that he wanted to secure that land for his children.”
Edward Tereso Laku, Secretary General of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), told Radio Tamazuj today they did not receive any information about the incident.
However, he urged an immediate halt to any violence against journalists.
“We as union, we condemn such things and it should stop immediately, we call for investigation because it is our role as union, we support the journalists and will not keep silent, what happened must reach the authorities,” said Edward.
The abduction of Isaac Vuni took place within the Pageri Administrative Area, where some clashes and ambushes have taken place, leading to a number of reported arrests. The area lies along the Nimule-Juba highway, which is the key artery between Juba and Uganda. Both opposition forces and government have a strategic interest to establish control in the area.
It is unclear whether the abduction and reported killing of Isaac Vuni is at all related to these ongoing security developments. But it is not the first reported abduction in the area, including some last year as well as more recently.
Human Rights Watch released a report in May last year saying army had opened ‘illegal’ detention sites in Nimule to jail persons accused of supporting SPLA-IO rebels.
This article is republished courtesy of Radio Tamazuj, a daily news service and current affairs broadcaster covering South Sudan, the southern states of Sudan, and the borderlands between the two countries.