January 30, 2020 (SSNA) — Exactly three years ago, our son, brother, father, and hero, Dong Samuel Luak, was abducted from Nairobi, Kenya, where he had been living as a refugee.
For more than two years, we waited in vain for information on his whereabouts. Although we feared the worst, we made repeated attempts to get information from the government about his status. We tried to communicate with the office of the president through official channels to seek his intervention to secure Dong’s release. After the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in September 2018, which provided for the release of all political prisoners, we publicly called on the government to take him to court or release him. All these pleas were ignored by the authorities.
We now know why the government did not even bother to respond to our repeated requests. They already knew what they had done. According to an authoritative report by the United Nations Panel of Experts on South Sudan published on April 30, 2019, “Aggrey and Dong were kidnapped by the Internal Security Bureau of South Sudan, which is part of the National Security Service.” Based on evidence the Panel of Experts gathered from multiple reliable sources, they “concluded that it is highly probably that Aggrey Idri and Dong Samuel Luak were executed by Internal Security Bureau agents at the Luri facility on January 30,2017.” The report provided great details as to who was responsible for this heinous crime against humanity. At the center of this barbaric scheme is the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, Gen. Taban Deng Gai.
On that note, as we remember our beloved son on the day he was brutally murdered, the family of Dong Luak wishes to take the occasion of this sad anniversary to acknowledge and applaud the action taken by the U.S. administration on January 8, 2020 imposing sanctions on the First Vice President of the Republican of South Sudan for his role in this heinous crime.
Although the report by the United Nations and the courageous action by the U.S. administration will not bring back our beloved son or ease our pain, we are grateful that the world is watching and is standing on the side of truth and justice. The report by the United Nations and the action of the U.S. administration have shed light on what happened to Dong and who is responsible. When a just system is eventually established in South Sudan, these pieces of evidence will be used to hold these individuals accountable. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We believe truth and justice will prevail.
In the meantime, we call upon the international community, particularly the Human Rights organizations that Dong worked with, to exert maximum pressure on the government of South Sudan so that these culprits can be held accountable.
Sadly, as we mourn our brave son, we are also aware of the First Vice President’s relentless efforts to escape responsibility and accountability. In recent public statements, he claimed that he had no problem with Dong and that he, in fact, supported him financially when he was in Nairobi. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Dong was an independent man who did not need any support from anyone. It is outrageous for the First Vice President to make these baseless claims against a man he knows very well can no longer speak for himself. This is shameful and a great insult to Dong’s entire family and community. We therefore call upon all sons and daughters of greater Lou Nuer community to withdraw their support for this man who has caused serious damage to our family and community in general.
Kok Diang Nyang Family