Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


South Sudan treason trial opens

12 March 2014, 09:47

Juba - The trial opened on Tuesday of four top South Sudanese leaders accused of treason for allegedly attempting to topple President Salva Kiir after fighting broke out in December.

The four are Pagan Amum, former secretary general of the ruling party, ex-national security minister Oyai Deng Ajak, former ambassador to the US Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, and ex-deputy defence minister Majak D'Agoot.

The four, who spoke in the Juba court only to confirm their names but who have in the past denied all charges, were dressed in suits and appeared to be in good health.

The four were read 11 charges, including the main charge of treason, defence lawyer Ajo Noel said.

"It is too early for us to tell what the case will be," Noel told AFP.

"We want to go through all that the judges will say, and we will see what comes out of it."

The courtroom, which was crowded with spectators including foreign diplomats, was surrounded by armed security officers.

South Sudan's government has been at war with rebel groups since 15 December, when a clash between troops loyal to Kiir and those loyal to sacked vice president Riek Machar snowballed into full-scale fighting across the world's newest nation.

Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict.

Eleven ex-officials were arrested, while Machar - who denied any coup plot - fled.

War crimes

However, seven of those initially arrested were released without charge in Kenya in January.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday called for the release of the four men on trial, saying that the regional East African IGAD-bloc - which is mediating peace talks - wanted to find "a political solution to the crisis".

The release of all the prisoners has been a key demand of the rebels.

The two sides signed a ceasefire agreement on 23 January, but heavy fighting has continued.

Stalled peace talks in neighbouring Ethiopia, which have made little progress, are due to resume on 20 March.

"The process is going very slow, but it is going in the right direction," Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in Addis Ababa Tuesday, after meeting with Kenyatta.

Over 930 000 civilians have fled their homes since fighting began, including over quarter of million leaving for neighbouring nations as refugees, according to the United Nations.

War crimes have been committed by all sides in the war, Human Rights Watch has warned, detailing widespread atrocities in almost three months of carnage.

Some key towns swapped hands several times, as rebels and government troops battled for control.

Over 75 000 civilians are still crammed into UN peacekeeping bases in fear of revenge attacks, with conditions becoming increasingly squalid as weeks drag into months and the heavy rains start.

The trial continues on Wednesday.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...