South Sudan

Pressure Mounts On S. Sudan To Free Ugandan Journalists

patient geneva; font-size: small;”>Justin Dralaze, a correspondent for Reuters and Hilary Ayesiga of CCTV were reportedly picked up by security officials on Saturday, 27 July from the streets of Juba before being detained in a military establishment.

“We call on authorities in South Sudan to release the journalists immediately and unconditionally, in the interest of press freedom, good governance and the rule of law,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office.

“Filming in the streets does not constitute any serious ground for arrest. The action of the security agents therefore can only be interpreted as an act of intimidation”.

According to sources quoted by the Ugandan Journalists Union, (UJU) the two journalists are being detained at the National Security headquarters.

South Sudan security officials claim the two journalists had no press permits or formal accreditation issued by the Juba authorities. But it is not clear why the two civilians had to be detained in a military barracks instead of being taken to a Police Station or a Court of law.

“South Sudan authorities should release the journalists with immediate effect and allow them to do their work or ask them to go home. There is no justification of detaining the journalists in a military barracks,” said UJU President, Lucy Anyango Ekadu.

“The authorities in South Sudan must base their actions in line with international standards that guarantee the freedom of expression and of the press. The journalists should be released immediately and unconditionally”.

The arrest of journalists comes at the height of tensions in the world’s youngest nation after President Salva Kiir disbanded the entire Cabinet last week.

Uganda Police and Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they were working round the clock to secure their release.

However, the Ugandan journalists’ fraternity is losing patience with Juba’s blatant abuse of the journalists’ freedoms and has since demanded their unconditional release from a military garrison.

Juba said Tuesday that it would free the journalists after verifying that their works were not aimed at jeopardizing the country’s security.


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