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South Sudan journalist shot dead: colleagues

August 20, 2015

Gunmen shot dead a South Sudan journalist in an apparently targeted attack, colleagues said Thursday, indicating that money and his telephone were found on his dead body.

The killing comes days after President Salva Kiir publicly threatened to kill journalists who reported “against the country”, according to the press rights group, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Peter Moi, a reporter for the New Nation newspaper, was shot dead after leaving work on Wednesday evening in the capital Juba, colleagues said, in the latest apparent attack on the media in the war-torn country.

“Freedom of the press does not mean you work against the country,” Kiir told journalists last week, as he left of peace talks in neighbouring Ethiopia, according to the CPJ.

“If anybody among them (journalists) does not know that this country has killed people, we will demonstrate it one day, one time.”

There was no immediate response to the killing from the police or security forces.

International press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranks South Sudan as the 125th worst nation out of 180.

Rights groups have repeatedly warned about the security forces cracking down on journalists and suffocating debate on how to end a civil war in which tens of thousands of people have been killed.

Earlier this month security forces shut down two newspapers and radio station after they reportedly promoted a proposed peace agreement, that the government has since dismissed as a “sellout”.

South Sudan’s civil war began in December 2013 when Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings that has split the poverty-stricken, landlocked country along ethnic lines.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.