By Spy Correspondent
Juba: President Salva Kiir has come under the spotlight after a prominent South Sudanese economist fled to the United States, accusing the South Sudan President of ordering him killed or abducted in Kenya, an allegation flatly denied by the government in Juba.
Peter Biar Ajak landed at Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC with his wife and three small children on Sunday after travelling from Nairobi.
He revealed that top South Sudanese officials who he declined to identify had warned him that Kiir had ordered a team to abduct or murder him in the Kenyan capital.
Ajak said SUVs with South Sudanese registration plates followed him in Nairobi, where he moved in February after about 18 months in prison in South Sudan on charges that he had disturbed the peace of the President by speaking to the foreign media. He was pardoned in January.
“About five weeks ago, I received information that the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, had ordered the National Security Service … to either kill me in Nairobi or abduct me and bring me back to South Sudan,” Ajak said.
Asked why Kiir may have wished to have him killed or captured, Ajak said he believed South Sudan’s president felt threatened by his efforts to expose corruption and promote democracy in the country, which gained independence in 2011 and plunged to a ruinous civil war two years later.
Ajak founded the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum, a non-profit group that has published scathing criticisms of the South Sudanese leadership and has sought to rally the country’s youth to demand better governance and an end to violence.
However, South Sudan’s government immediately rejected Ajak’s allegation.
“That is complete nonsense. He was here when he was pardoned by the president and allowed to go abroad. He should not associate anything that comes his way with the government of South Sudan,” Ateny Wek Ateny, South Sudan’s presidential press secretary, said in Juba.
“The government of South Sudan does not attempt, or even need, to kill anybody outside the country,” Ateny added.
Ajak’s representative, human rights lawyer Jared Genser, provided a photograph of a white SUV with South Sudanese plates which he said had followed Ajak in Nairobi. According to sources, Genser said the plates were not in South Sudan’s car registry and were typical of those used by the government’s National Security Service.
Our sources also reviewed emails from June that showed the US State Department regarded Ajak’s allegation as sufficiently credible to grant him a visa.
“The circumstances of Peter’s case are clear,” said one US official in an email.