Detention of election observers in South Sudan condemned

Khartoum- Sudan (PANA) -- Sudanese Network for Democratic Elections (SuNDE) on Fr iday condemned the ejection of its observers by security personnel from polling s tations in South Sudan.
In a press statement, received by PANA, SuNDE expressed concern about â?a troub ling trend in Juba of observers being obstructed from carrying out their rights t o observe the election process.
â? The observers, it said, were kicked out of Hai Jalaba Youth Trading Centre, and Saint Theresa in Juba East and Kator South constituencies on the orders of the g o verning Sudanese Peopleâ?s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The group said the ejection of observers from polling centres began on Wednesday when 19 domestic observers were kicked out of three stations in Kator South con s tituency â?by unknown security personnel" and taken to the Public Security Offic e and eventually detained at the Police of the Public Order office near Konyo Ko n yo market.
The polling stations where observers were ejected included Comboni South School, Bakietha School and Lologo Reformatory School, the statement signed by the grou p â?s coordinator, Mr.
Edmond Yakani, said.
It added, â?14 of the 19 observers were from SuNDE.
One SuNDE observer was assa ulted by the security personnel.
â? Although the Sudanese elections have been adjudged by international monitors as generally orderly and peaceful, even in troubled regions such as Darfur, observe r s have expressed reservations about the conduct of elections in southern Sudan, w here there were reports of candidates and voters opposed to incumbent Salva Kiir â ?s SPLM being harassed and assaulted by the party.
The statement said SuNDE representatives were told - without elaboration - that security personnel were given orders to remove all domestic observers, sponsored by NGOs from polling stations.
â?Security personnel entered the polling stations without authorization from an y election official, which is a violation of the rules and procedures set forth b y the National Election Commission.
NEC guidelines and rules only allow security personnel to enter polling stations at the request of an election official,â? SuNDE lamented, but vowed to continue to actively to monitor the safety of their observers in Kator South, Juba East a nd other constituencies in and around Juba for the remainder of the electoral pr o cess.

16 april 2010 14:23:00

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