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South African Marks Year in Detention in South Sudan

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar speaks during an interview in Nairobi, Kenya, July 8, 2015. Detainee William Endley's LinkedIn profile shows that he once worked as a senior security consultant for Machar, a former South Sudanese vice president.

The family of a retired South African colonel arrested for unclear reasons in South Sudan one year ago is calling for his release.

Authorities took retired Colonel William Endley into custody in Juba, the capital, on August 18, 2016. According to his daughter, Gwyneth Endley, he is now jailed at a national security facility in Juba but has yet to be charged with any crime.

"We just want him home," said Gweneth Endley in an interview Friday with VOA's South Sudan in Focus. She said her family had tried to win Endley's release but had been unsuccessful. She said they had not been able to learn much about the case against the retired colonel.

Mawien Makol, spokesman for South Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Endley had violated South Sudan's visa rules. He did not provide details.

Makol said Endley, 56, would be released once the government finished its investigation.

"Of course, he may be awaiting some kind of processes that he has to undergo, and that is the regulations of the country," Makol told VOA.

Gwyneth Endley said she believed her father was being held as a political prisoner.

William Endley's LinkedIn profile shows that he once worked as a senior security consultant for former South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar.

Machar leads the rebel forces that oppose President Salva Kiir. He is currently under what appears to be house arrest in South Africa.

Gwyneth Endley, however, denied that her father worked for Machar. "He wasn't really working. He was just advising," she said.

William Endley's sister, Charmaine Quinn, told VOA that the South African mission in Juba had been keeping his family informed about his health conditions.

Quinn said the family sends a monthly allowance of about $150 to the mission in Juba and the mission gets the money to Endley in detention.

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    John Tanza

    John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the South Sudan In Focus radio program.