Prison Standoff in South Sudan’s Blue House.


Prisoners in South Sudan’s notorious Blue House say about 200 of them broke into a store in the prison where weapons are kept early Sunday morning local time and are holding two “unharmed” prison guards hostage, demanding the government provide prisoners with due process.
The prisoners say they “do not want to fight, we just want our voice to be heard” and add they have no intention of firing back at South Sudanese military and national security personnel who have surrounded the prison.
No fatalities have been reported, although one prisoner was shot below his left knee during a scuffle that broke out when the prisoners took control of the prison.
“Safety now is very relative, we are now in a situation where we don’t know what may happen,” said Peter Biar Ajak, an academic who was arrested at the Juba International Airport in late July.
Biar is unarmed and said he is hiding in a bunker along with other unarmed civilians in the prison known as the Blue House for its blue-tinted windows.
“What we are hoping for is that the government of South Sudan is able to resolve this and is able to negotiate to those who have taken this decision to resort to this kind of armed protest,” Biar said.
Prisoners say there has been no communication between them and South Sudanese officials.
There are about 100 armed prisoners in the rooftop, 50 on the grounds and another 50 inside the Blue House, according to Kerbino Wol who spoke to VOA South Sudan in Focus on the phone.

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