Wednesday, December 09, 2009

South Sudan: Police stormed Bakhita FM radio station in Juba and attacked a female journalist

From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Wednesday, 9 December 2009:
(Juba) – About twenty police officers stormed into Bakhita FM radio station in Juba and attacked a female journalist on Monday afternoon.

The police claimed the journalist insulted them in a broadcast after a riot between students and the police in Juba earlier in the day.

The director of Bakhita FM, Sr. Cecillia Placido, described the incident to SRS on Wednesday.

[Sr. Cecillia Placido]: “The lady was in the compound of Bakhita radio and the gate was locked - because we lock everything. But there is a hole at the back of the fence and the 20 police dressed in their uniforms entered through that opening in the fence. She was just walking in the compound to go and ask a colleague what was happening since the colleague was outside. As she was going out, her colleague was running into the room. She just met the police there and she didn’t know what to do. She found herself in the confusion. People were running inside and she was outside. So she was taken by surprise. At that moment, one of the police said that she was the one who insulted them. They wanted to take her away but she said, "No, not me!" They said, "You come with us!" and she said, "Where?" Of course she resisted and started shouting. When she started shouting they started to beat her. I saw at least 5 men beating her while 20 others were just watching. Beating a lady? She ways already down and they continued beating her and dragged her into the ditch. This is not an attitude of a police.”

Sr. Cecillia added that the police lack discipline and needed thorough training to enable them serve citizen with respect.

[Sr. Cecillia Placido]: “Actually they beat so many people. This person was just one of many incidents. The other day, they beat up and shot a girl call Regina and she was admitted in the hospital. For me this is a painful experience. But as painful as it may seem, let it be a lesson for the police to learn that they have to be trained. Because if they can not handle this situation properly, imagine what is to be expected during the elections. If thieves are attacking me, I call the police, if someone assaults me, I call the police. But if the police attack me, who do I call?”

Juba police and the local reserve denied any involvement in the incident.

Sr. Cecilia said that the woman was taken to hospital by members of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission and that she has resumed work, although she is still traumatized by her experience.

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