SPLM/A-IO dragged into investigating American journalist killing

By Taban Tom Henry

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army- In Opposition SPLM/A-IO has been dragged into the relentless battle for accountability into the death of American journalist Christopher Allen killed while covering clashes in Yei river area in 2017.

The SPLM-IO as a peace partner has been asked to take charge and investigate the death of Journalist Christopher Allen instead of the Unity Government taking the lead, that’s according deputy information minister, Jacob Maiju Korok.

Since the killing of Allen in 2017 the United States government has been pushing the government of South Sudan pressuring them to investigate the killing of its national and make their finding known to the family of the late journalist.

Christopher Allen, an American journalist was killed on the frontline in Central Equatoria State of the then Yei river state at Morobo County.

The journalist was killed on the side of the opposition armed group, in the Southern town of Kaya, near the border with Uganda and close to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Addressing the media after the council of ministers meeting yesterday the Deputy Minister of Information, Jacob Maiju Korok said that the government is not to be put to investigate the killing of the American journalist because he was killed in the rebel-controlled areas.  

“Yes, the government can investigate that but it was killed actually in the rebels sides how can then the blames be put on the government, supposed the rebels (SPLM/A-IO) are to investigate the killing of the journalist because he was killed in the rebel controlled areas” he said.

Maiju stated that the U.S. government’s call for accountability doesn’t, shouldn’t imply that the government can take the responsibility of taking the investigation of the killing of the journalist.

He noted that the incident of the journalist’s killing was tricky because he wasn’t killed inside the government-controlled areas.

“The essence of the incidence was a bit actually tricky and the white journalist was actually killed in a crossfire and was not actually meant by South Sudan to go and kill journalist outside the rebel occupied areas” he said.

Earlier this week the minister of Information and government’s spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth said the government should not be held accountable for the death of Christopher Allen saying he entered South Sudan illegally.

Makuei made the remarks during an event to remark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against journalists.

U.S. Embassy in Juba was provoked by Makuei’s remarks in which they condemned it in a statement terming it “irresponsible and reprehensible at any time”.

“The US Embassy called for a clarification from the information minister on his remarks whether those were his personal remarks or the government position” the statement read in part.

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