Rapper and South Sudanese peace activist Emmanuel Jal was beaten and robbed Saturday by police in Juba, South Sudan, in an apparently unprovoked incident of police brutality, Jal's publicist said. Police stopped Jal around 9:30 p.m. and took his cellphone, then five officers beat him until he lost consciousness, while 15 more police and national security officers watched without intervening.
Jal has been in Juba to promote International Peace Day and to perform at the "We Want Peace" Business Gala and concert on September 20th and 21st. Despite his injuries, Jal issued a statement urging continued peace. "Two days after arriving in my home country I was attacked by members of Juba's police and national security. This is an ironic and sad situation that will not deter my path for freedom, equality and justice. I am swollen, but recovering, and thank all the fans and supporters for their well wishes," he writes. "I would like to express that abuse of power should not be tolerated on any level. South Sudan must move forward with positivity and equality. Tribalism, police brutality, corruption and other problems of de-stabilization must be highlighted and stopped in order for the country to progress."
Jal said he spoke out about the incident "because I was raised in an environment where speaking out against injustice is always considered a route for peace. Let us continue to put a spotlight on such dark issues, for it is the best solution in paving a way for our bright future"
Rolling Stone last week premiered the former child soldier's new video, "We Want Peace – Reloaded," which features former President Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Ringo Starr, George Clooney, Alicia Keys, Peter Gabriel, Dispatch, Das Racist and more. His upcoming album, See Me Mama, is due September 25th.
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