US, UK demand answers from South Sudan over journalist’s death

US, UK demand answers from South Sudan over journalist’s death

The U.S and UK have once again called on the government of South Sudan to conduct a credible investigation into the death of journalist Christopher Allen and make the results public to ensure accountability.

“After six years, Mr. Allen’s family, friends, and colleagues deserve answers. Mr Allen’s death and to share its findings with Allen’s family,” the two embassies in Juba noted in a statement.

“Our call for a credible investigation and accountability is about more than just Mr. Allen’s case—it is about the right of journalists to work in safety and about ending impunity for violence and crimes against them.”

Christopher Allen, an American-British citizen, was killed on August 26, 2017, while covering clashes between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO) in Kaya, Central Equatoria State.

Last year, a diplomatic tiff was infused between Washington and Juba after South Sudan’s government spokesperson, Michael Makuei, said the journalist was killed on “the other side” of the battlefield and there was no further probe the government could do.

But it was Makuei’s comment that Christopher was a “white rebel” that angered the US, forcing the Embassy in Juba to write to the national government seeking explanation about the circumstances of Allen’s death.

“This man entered South Sudan illegally in the first place, and that is why I declared in a statement that we have killed a “white rebel” because he was killed on the side of the rebel,” said Makuei while addressing a gathering during the celebration of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in Juba.

In 2017, Makuei alleged that Allen was “working with rebels” and that the British-American journalist had entered South Sudan without proper documents.

“The journalist was not targeted as is being portrayed. He applied in June for accreditation but the government denied him entry because of his hostile reporting. He decided to make a shortcut by entering the country illegally,” Makuei told journalists in 2017.