South Sudanese journalist shot dead

South Sudanese journalist killed after President Salva Kiir warns journalists not to 'work against your country'

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir arrives during a peace signing meeting attended by leaders from the region in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, August 17, 2015.

Updated Aug 21, 2015

A South Sudanese journalist, Peter Julius Moi, was shot dead as he headed home from work, at the independent New Nation newspaper late on Wednesday in Juba, his colleagues at the paper said.

The person who fired the shot has not yet been identified, the colleagues added.

Moi’s body was found on Thursday, lying in the field where he was shot, a Reuters reporter stated.

This incident came just few days after President Salva Kiir issued a warning to journalists.

"The freedom of press does not mean that you work against your country. And if anybody among them does not know this country has killed people, we will demonstrate it one day on them," Kiir told a news conference on Sunday, without elaborating.

Officials of the Police and government were not immediately available for any comments.

The president declined to sign a peace treaty proposed by mediators on Monday, in an attempt to end the country's 20-month conflict, stating that he had some reservations about the pact and requested for an extra two weeks extension.

Tom Rhodes, the East Africa representative for Press Freedom Group, Committee to Protect Journalists, told Reuters that the killing would make media's work much more difficult at a time when the public demands information to be released regarding the search for a peace settlement.

"A very foreboding sign, the journalist was killed just three days after President Salva Kiir threatened to target journalists before departing for peace talks in Addis Ababa," Rhodes said.

"It is still too early to tell whether there is a link but this tragedy will certainly cast a pall over independent reporting in the country as South Sudanese journalists are increasingly forced to self-censor as a means of survival," he added.

The newly established state of South Sudan has been plunged in a political turmoil since it gained independence from Sudan in 2011, which has killed over 10,000 people and displaced more than 2 million.

The country has descended into chaos in December 2013 when a political row between Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar spiralled into armed conflict that reopened ethnic fault lines.

TRTWorld and agencies