The embattled president of South Sudan Artists Union Deng Mtoto has been arrested and is being held at Malakia Police Station for allegedly trying to regain power and launch a parallel office after his tenure ended, an official confirms.
The interim leadership of the Artists Union has accused Mtoto of forging documents and illegally launching his office in Tongpiny (Juba Nabari).
Gunshots rented the air on Wednesday as police officers stormed a venue of the controversial launching of the artists union office, with a warrant to arrest Mr. Mtoto.
Video footage circulated online showed law enforcement officers vandalizing signboards posted by Mtoto group.
Meanwhile, the Artists Union Secretary-General, Nyabura Kenyi, who is also the acting president, said Deng was taken to custody on the same day. He was apprehended with his cohort Chamdena Level.
Speaking to Eye Radio on Thursday, Mr. Kenyi said the office launch is illegal, adding that the next artists president must be elected.
“The issue is, this guy Deng Mototo was in the seat since January 2023, he forged a document and went and forged the stamp and went to open an office by force that’s why we went and closed down the office that’s the only thing that’s happening,” Kenyi said.
A lawyer for Mtoto was not immediately reachable for comment on the allegations of documents forgery.
Lucky Yona, a member of the Artist Union said they have opened a case against Deng Mototo and the case is under investigation.
“His trying to open a different office that’s why we went to get the warrant of arrest to arrest him because we summoned him,” Yona said.
‘He tried down the summon when we were coming to ask him what is happening there and now, he is in investigation to bring down the forgery that he made because that is a criminal offense.”
On his part, singer Menimen of the Cozoos Clan music group, said the dispute in the Artist Union does not reflect them as artists in South Sudan.
“If you have a term of two years, and two years were over a long time ago, By now we should be discussing completely different things. If you want to lead by example, the current team should be able to think of conduct eletions,” Menimen said.
“It has never happened all people have to take power by whatever necessary means very unnecessary means and right now the same people are fighting.”
“Just like many other artists, am concerned and I am confused, and I believe this one is putting us in a different image.”
“This is not us the south Sudanese artist this is a certain group of people who do not recognize.”