South Sudan: Security forces preventing civilians from fleeing country
The South Sudanese security forces are deliberately blocking people from leaving the country, Amnesty International said today.
The organisation has received reports from two charter companies that National Security Service officers have ordered them not to carry South Sudanese nationals, particularly men.
An NGO told Amnesty that one of its South Sudanese staff was prevented from boarding a flight to Entebbe, Uganda.
Elizabeth Deng, Amnesty International’s South Sudan Researcher said:
“This arbitrary conduct by the South Sudanese security forces is totally unacceptable. South Sudan must respect people’s right to freedom of movement, including the right to leave their own country.
“It is absolutely critical that both parties to the conflict do not obstruct safe passage of civilians fleeing to places of refuge both inside and outside of the country.”
Thousands of South Sudanese people have reportedly gathered at the country’s southern border seeking to enter Uganda, but they are also being prevented from crossing over.
Juba International Airport was reopened on Tuesday after a ceasefire was announced to end days of fighting between rival armed forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar, which left hundreds of people dead and thousands displaced.