Curfew in place for Juba, S. Sudan over past few weeks
December 05, 2008 commentary by Rob Rooker in Juba, South Sudan:
Over the past few weeks a curfew has been put in place for Juba. It was gazetted in one of the local newspapers, but we didn’t see it. What we heard were lots of warnings from others that it was now in effect.
It is said to have been put in action to curb an escalation of violence that has been taking place in late hours over the course of the last few months. There are groups of guys running around robbing people, homes and vehicles and doing all sorts of mayhem.
The idea behind the curfew is a good one. There needs to be enforcement of law and order in this place to keep it from deteriorating into chaos.
However what worries me is the way those given the power to enforce it are enforcing it now.
We are hearing numerous stories of people being beaten severely, forced to pay money or being thrown in jail for the night. Other stories coming out of women being taken and gang raped, the men they are with unable to do a thing. If vehicles don’t stop for the patrolling soldiers, they are liable to open fire. Granted all of this is hear-say.
A difficulty here is that these soldiers are not always easily identified.
I was going home around 10 p.m. the other night with some friends. We passed a Land-cruiser that was turning in the middle of the road. It had no markings. It was brown or green or something like that. There was one man standing in the back wearing what might have been civilian clothes or something of a military hue. As we were passing, it seemed that maybe the man was waiving his hands at us to stop. It wasn’t very clear. We didn’t stop. There was a brief moment of fear that maybe they were going to start chasing us. Fortunately they didn’t.
Its frustrating. At the end of the day, it seems the ones who are supposed to be protecting and keeping the residents of Juba safe may end up doing more violence on those said residents than the criminals they are supposed to be targeting.
HIV Awareness Poster by American artist Rob Rooker, author of above blog post. (Hi Rob! Love all your work! More pics here later)