Former South Sudanese opposition press secretary forgives kidnappers

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

James Gatdet Dak was kidnapped from his home in November 2016 but says he holds no grudges.

The former press secretary of South Sudan’s main opposition leader Riek Machar, James Gatdet Dak, said he had forgiven those responsible for his kidnapping from the Kenyan capital Nairobi in 2016, the Sudan Tribune reported.

Dak also expressed his gratitude to President Salva Kiir for ordering his release from prison in accordance with a peace deal he signed with the country’s opposition groups.

“I want to leave behind whatever had happened to me. I have forgiven those responsible for my kidnapping and illegal deportation from Nairobi to Juba,” Dak told the Tribune.

The former press secretary, a registered refugee in Kenya, was kidnapped from his home in November 2016, a move widely condemned by the UN and international human rights organisations.

Dak said the arrest was carried out by Kenyan security officers after he expressed support for the dismissal of a Kenyan UN force commander in South Sudan who was accused of failing to protect civilians during the July 2016 crisis in the South Sudanese capital Juba.

He was deported shortly after his arrest in Nairobi and upon arrival in Juba was arrested by South Sudanese national security officers.

Dak was subsequently sentenced to death for working against Kiir’s government, but the president eventually intervened and reversed the court’s decision.

Despite his suffering in detention and prison for two years, Dak said he wanted to open a new page of forgiveness and reconciliation.

“I don’t want to hold grudges against anyone. I want to reconcile with those who targeted me and made me suffer,” he said, adding that his work as a press secretary in the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition was taken personally by some.

– African News Agency

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