South Su­danese jour­nal­ist slain af­ter pres­i­dent ‘threat­ened to kill’ re­porters

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Gun­men shot dead a South Su­dan re­porter in an ap­par­ently tar­geted at­tack, col­leagues said Thurs­day, days af­ter Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir pub­licly threat­ened to kill jour­nal­ists who re­ported “against the coun­try.”

Col­leagues, who gath­ered at the hos­pi­tal in the cap­i­tal Juba where Peter Moi’s body was taken on Thurs­day, said the re­porter’s money and his tele­phone were not taken by the gun­man af­ter the killing.

He is sev­enth jour­nal­ist killed this year in the war-rav­aged coun­try.

“This was an in­ten­tional killing,” said Oliver Modi, chair­man of the Union of Jour­nal­ists of South Su­dan.

Moi, a re­porter for the New Na­tion news­pa­per, was shot dead af­ter leav­ing work in Juba on Wed­nes­day evening, col­leagues said, in the latest ap­par­ent at­tack on the media.

“Free­dom of the press does not mean you work against the coun­try,” Kiir told jour­nal­ists Sun­day as he left for peace talks in neigh­bor­ing Ethiopia, ac­cord­ing to the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists (CPJ).

“If any­body among them (jour­nal­ists) does not know that this coun­try has killed peo­ple, we will demon­strate it one day, one time.”

There was no im­me­di­ate re­sponse to the killing from the po­lice or se­cu­rity forces.

“To­day it is Peter, to­mor­row is some­one else,” Modi added. “We are be­ing taken one by one.”

Five jour­nal­ists work­ing for state-run media were shot dead along with gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in Jan­uary, in an am­bush by un­known gun­men in Western Bahr al Ghazal state.

Another jour­nal­ist was killed in May in eastern Jon­glei state, re­port­edly in cross-fire dur­ing a gun bat­tle be­tween ri­val groups.

In­ter­na­tional press free­dom watchdog Re­porters With­out Borders ranks South Su­dan as the 125th worst na­tion out of 180.

Rights groups have re­peat­edly warned about the se­cu­rity forces crack­ing down on jour­nal­ists and suf­fo­cat­ing de­bate on how to end a civil war in which tens of thou­sands of peo­ple have been killed.

Ear­lier this month se­cu­rity forces shut down two news­pa­pers and a ra­dio sta­tion af­ter they re­port­edly pro­moted a pro­posed peace agree­ment, that the gov­ern­ment has since dis­missed as a “sell­out.”

South Su­dan’s civil war be­gan in De­cem­ber 2013 when Kiir ac­cused his for­mer deputy Riek Machar of plot­ting a coup, set­ting off a cy­cle of re­tal­ia­tory killings that has split the pover­tys­tricken coun­try along eth­nic lines.

The gov­ern­ment say they will re­turn to talks in Ethiopia in early Septem­ber to “fi­nal­ize” a peace deal.

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