S. Sudan denies responsibility for slain US reporter

Government says freelancer Christopher Allen was not targeted during firefight with rebels

S. Sudan denies responsibility for slain US reporter

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Sudan’s government has said a U.S. freelance journalist, killed in a firefight last Saturday while on assignment, had previously been denied entry to the country because of his “hostile reporting”.

Michael Makuei, a government spokesman, told reporters on Wednesday the death of Christopher Allen was not a targeted killing as claimed by South Sudanese rebels and the international community.

“The journalist was not targeted as is being portrayed. He applied in June for accreditation but the government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs … denied him entry because of his hostile reporting, so he decided to make a short cut by entering the country illegally,” Makuei claimed.

Makuei said the American journalist had been reporting on the activities of opposition fighters loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar and said his government would not accept any responsibility for Allen’s death.

“The rebels attacked the government-controlled border town of Kaya with the aim of capturing it, and 17 were killed, including the journalist

“The slain journalist had nothing except a red ribbon tied on his hand like some of the rebel soldiers who were killed along with him,” Makuei added.

The opposition says Allen was embedded with its fighters and was targeted when government troops saw him taking photos.

According to local media, U.S. consul Denise Knapp thanked the South Sudanese military for releasing Allen’s body and said they had confirmed his identity from a recovered passport.

The Committee to Protect Journalists on Tuesday demanded an independent investigation into the killing.

South Sudan is one of the world's most dangerous places for journalists; according to the United Nations, Allen is the tenth reporter to be killed in South Sudan since fighting broke out in 2013.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Ağustos 2017, 10:30