South Sudan arrests embattled newspaper columnist


Dengdit Ayok was taken away by security agents on Saturday, 11/5/2011. Photo: Courtesy of
(Juba South Sudan NSV) – Destiny daily columnist Dengdit Ayok has been taken into custody this afternoon by the National Security, has learned.

This afternoon security agents entered premises of  Al-Misier and Destiny newspapers at Hai Kuwait neighbourhood, senior editor of  Al-Misier Abraham Malek told

He said about six armed soldiers forced their way into the newspaper’s compound.  “They said, sit down, sit down,” said Malek. The security agents were looking for Dengdit, who was at the newspaper at the time.  The columnist was taken to custody by the agents. Malek said he didn’t know where they took him.

He also said it was the first time security agents entered the newspaper’s grounds. He expressed unhappiness with “treatment of journalists like criminals.”

Dengdit wrote “Nyan Bany,” a controversial commentary about the author’s discontentment with marriage of First Daughter to an Ethiopian national.

The piece landed the paper’s editor, Ngor Arol Garang, in detention.

National Security notice issued following publication of “Nyan Bany” cited non-adherence to “the media code of conducts and professional ethics instead [Destiny] continued to publish illicit news that are inciting, personalities invasion and defamation” as reasons behind the termination of the paper “until further notice,” according to the notice signed by National Security Director General, Akol Koor Kuc.

Before the closure of the paper, management of the newspaper published an apology to

the First Family for the off-hand comments of Dengdit, and suspended him for a month.

“It has been observed in many occasions that, the newspaper continued with the activities that are exclusively not supposed to be published for public consumption,” said the notice.


Ngor Arol Garang, editor of Destiny daily, has been locked up by the National Security since Tuesday, following publication of the opinion piece. 

“To safeguard the safety and the security of our nation from such publications, we are obliged not to hesitate in closing down the newspaper effective from today November 1, 2011 until further notice.”

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