South Sudan’s peace partner the SPLM-IO has detained the press-secretary in the office its leadership, relieved him of his duties and disarmed him of internet-connected devices after he allegedly spread false information about the cause of the shootings, and his false account has already been internationally publicised as cause of shootings in Juba.
On Friday, the former facebook-hooked press-secretary claimed the random shootings in Juba were “inside Kiir’s Palace (state house)…” and that is was a setup as “the President and his commanders attempted to arrest” the former-rebel-turned-Vice-President Riek Machar who was lured to the state-house for a meeting.
That was not true.
His publication was widely re-tweeted and shared on social media. Some prominent international news agencies including Kenya’s NTV, the Chinese version of SSTV, and (unsurprisingly) Sudan Tribune made it their headlines and breaking news for their evening news.
The message has since been deleted from all the channels the former rebel spokesperson used, but new versions and remixes of his story are still on their way to villages and POC’s across South Sudan and around the world via the social media. Although the authorities do not have the technology or equipment and fire-fighting trucks to contain and stop that wild rumour, many believe the majority of the civilians had not checked their facebook and twitter feeds feeds when the rumour was circulated.
His detention by his group the SPLM-IO – arguably unlawful in normal circumstances, but hey! – has caught the attention of the some diplomats and the international community who have libraries full of documents suggesting nothing humane happens in such detentions. However, the Canadian Ambassador to South Sudan has issued a statement urging SPLM-IO to find time during the detention and interrogation of Mr. Gatdet to educate and raise his capacity about the role of information at peace time.
One #defyHate and #IChoosePeace envangalist was glad Mr. Gatdet is finally paying for his actions.
“I wish he is locked up in a library, tortured with education and training, forced to listen to Bob Marley songs about one-love and Michael Jackson’s song that says it does not matter if you are black or white…Above all, I wish everyone in South Sudan realises that it is easy to amplify and echo the fear and hatred… the real job is to do the opposite, whatever that is… ”
SPLM-IO has also logged a formal request with twitter and facebook through their local branches in Juba, South Sudan to suspend the account of Mr. Gatdet that is has become to be known internationally as the virtual mouth-piece or the virtual-Michael-Makuei of the SPLM-IO.