National, News

US, UK demand credible probe on slain journalist  

By William Madouk

United States and UK embassies in Juba have renewed calls for the transitional government of South Sudan to conduct a credible investigation into the death of Christopher Allen and make the results public to ensure accountability.

Allen, a British-American reporter, on August 26, 2017, was shot dead on the frontline in South Sudan.

He was covering clashes between the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces, formerly known as the SPLA, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO).

Allen met his death at Kaya, a town situated on the border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“After six years, Mr. Allen’s family, friends, and colleagues deserve answers on Mr. Allen’s death and to share their findings with Allen’s family,” the two embassies in Juba noted in a joint statement seen by this outlet.

On this solemn anniversary, the U.S. and U.K. embassies once again called on the government to conduct a credible investigation into the death of Christopher Allen, to make the results public, and to ensure accountability.

“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,” it added.

According to the two embassies, a free and independent press is a vital, core institution that underpins healthy democracies.

Last year, there was a diplomatic jitter arose between Washington and Juba after 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.

“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,” Makuei said during the celebration of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in Juba.

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

Earlier in 2017, Makuei alleged the British-American journalist had entered South Sudan without proper documents.

It remains unclear whether the Juba administration will launch an investigation into the killing or not, yet all calls have fallen on deaf ears for all these years.



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