A prominent South Sudanese economist has fled to the United States, accusing South Sudan’s President
Salva Kiir Mayardit of ordering him killed or abducted in Kenya –
an allegation flatly denied by the government in Juba.
Peter Biar Ajak landed at Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC with his wife and three small children after
traveling from Nairobi. He told Reuters news agency that top South Sudanese officials whom he declined to identify
had warned him that Kiir had ordered a team to abduct or murder him in the Kenyan capital.
Ajak said SUVs with South Sudanese registration plates followed him in Nairobi,
where he moved in February after about 18 months in prison in South Sudan on charges he had disturbed
the peace by speaking to the foreign media. He was pardoned in January.
“About five weeks ago, I received information that the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir,
had ordered the National Security Service … to either kill me in Nairobi or abduct me and bring me back
to South Sudan,” Ajak said.
Asked why Kiir may have wished to have him killed or captured, Ajak said he believed South Sudan’s president felt threatened by his efforts to expose corruption and promote democracy in the country,
which gained independence in 2011 and plunged to a ruinous civil war two years later.
Ajak founded the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum,
a non-profit group that has published scathing criticisms of the South Sudanese leadership and has sought to rally the country’s youth to demand better governance and an end to violence.