South Sudan opposition leader kept under ‘house arrest’

Lam Akol's house been surrounded by security, locking him in, without any explanation given to him from the government.

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A South Sudanese opposition leader who has spoken out against both sides in the civil war said Saturday he was spending a second day under house arrest without any explanation from the government.

Opposition politician Lam Akol said his home in the capital Juba, which is under the control of the government loyal to President Salva Kiir, was surrounded by security personnel on Thursday night, and on Saturday his home was still surrounded.

“It is still the same. I cannot move,” he told AFP by telephone, adding there had also been no communication from the government.

South Sudan’s government has denied placing any restrictions on Akol, although witnesses have confirmed his home has been surrounded by security forces and vehicles.

Akol is the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) party, and has spoken out against both Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, whose forces have been at war since December 2013.

Akol is a former warlord who fought on both sides during Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war.

He comes from Upper Nile State where ethnic rebels have recently been engaged in fighting with government troops, and experts say the government restrictions on him are likely to be linked to the fact that members of his ethnic group have started fighting government forces.