Lieutenant Colonel Mangar Makeny, Commander of the South Sudan National Police Service unit dubbed the 777, said four men from the organised forces have recently been arrested for carjacking in Juba’s Nyakuron residential area.
Some of the suspects ran away, after criminals hijacked a vehicle with nine people inside, holding passengers at gunpoint, Makney said, but two arrests were made.
One of them is a Major in the army and second one is a Sergeant in the police. The other two of the last incident are privates from the national security,” Makeny said.
Makeny said the two cars hijacked at gunpoint in Munuki and Gudele residential areas last Monday, belong to Health Link, a national organisation and the National Ministry of Animal Resources and were later found at a home of one suspect, the Major.
During the arrest we found all the original number plates from the company were removed the same night and changed and other (new) numbers put which do not belong to those cars,” said Makeny.
We don’t want people keeping quiet when bad things are being done.”The signboards on the vehicles were also removed, in a clear indication of theft, all those amount to crime. The people from the organised forces were doing this and they are under arrest and the law will take course upon them,” he said.
Makeny said the arrest is a crackdown operation that has been ongoing since the launch of the 777 police unit in Juba last year, part of a Ministry of Interior pilot project aimed at reducing crime rate in Juba. He said the unit has so far arrested 1,280 suspected criminals in Juba involved in killing, robbery, theft, looting and rapes. At least 900 of the suspects have been sentenced, Makeny said.
Despite this latest crackdown, crimes such as killing, looting and robbery continue within and outside the capital both during night and day.
Wani Michael, a Juba resident, said the 777 unit has led to a reduction in crime rates, especially night killings in the capital. However, he urged for more investment and better ties with the residents in Juba. They need to be like professionals,” he said. They should not end up beating people and when they get you at night they start to slap you or beat you. That is not good.”
Makeny, meanwhile, asks Juba residents to take an active role in community policing. We don’t want people keeping quiet when bad things are being done.”
Makeny said the capital’s poor infrastructure also challenges their work. The roads in the villages, the suburbs of Juba town are not named […], even the houses are not numbered. That also hindered our operation at night, because you call from Munuki but Munuki is very vast, we cannot trace you,” Makeny said.
Central Equatoria State Governor Clement Wani Konga has spoken out for organised forces allegedly involved in crimes in the capital, saying their meagre salaries were not enough. He argued that the suspects are just trying survive.