UN regrets death of U.S journalist in South Sudan

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The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Monday regretted the killing of U.S journalist Christopher Allen during fighting in the town of Kaya, near the border with Uganda.

“We would like to pass on our deepest condolences to the family, colleagues, and friends of Christopher Allen for their loss.

“His death while reporting on the conflict in South Sudan is a tragedy,” Head of UNMISS and Special Representative of the Secretary-General, David Shearer said in a statement issued in Juba.

However, UNMISS said Allen who was killed on Saturday is the tenth journalist to have been murdered in South Sudan since 2012.

“UNMISS has repeatedly stated that any attacks on journalists are unacceptable and it calls on all parties to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan to respect the freedom of the press,” Shearer said.

Several journalists have since been killed during the ongoing more than three years of violence in the youngest nation in unclear circumstances that have not been conclusively investigated, amid international condemnation.

According to the South Sudanese Army (SPLA) deputy spokesman Col. Santo Chol, the slain journalist was killed on Saturday afternoon, alongside 16 (SPLA-IO) rebel fighters allied to former First Vice President Riek Machar.

He said that they killed in the border town located south of the capital near the Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo border.

Chol also allegedly said Allen was killed on the frontline while holding a gun as government troops engaged in fight with rebels that lasted several hours, before his corpse was found and evacuated to Juba.

“He is a white rebel because he was killed alongside rebels while he was holding a gun,” Chol told Xinhua on Sunday.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Kiir and his former deputy Machar led to fighting that pitted mostly Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.

The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital forcing Machar to flee into exile.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions that have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.(Xinhua)