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South Sudan journalist tortured, dumped in graveyard: report

March 8, 2016

A South Sudanese journalist was abducted, tortured, burned and then dumped near a graveyard, reports said Tuesday, in the latest attack against the media in the war-torn nation.

The attack on journalist Joseph Afandy came as he recovered from being held for two months in detention without charge by security forces from December to February after criticising the government’s handling of a two-year civil war.

Afandy, who was reportedly kidnapped on Friday by unknown men in a white vehicle with tinted windows, telephoned for help after he was dumped near a graveyard.

“We found him in a bad condition – beaten and burned in his legs,” colleague Ibrahim Awuol told Juba’s Eye Radio on Tuesday.

Afandy is now recovering in hospital.

Rights groups have accused the security forces of cracking down on journalists, stifling debate on how to end a civil war in which tens of thousands of people have been killed since December 2013.

Seven journalists were killed last year while covering the conflict. Some were caught up in the fighting but a reporter was also shot in August in an apparently targeted attack.

Journalist George Livio, who worked for the UN-backed Radio Miraya in the town of Wau, remains in detention since he was arrested in August 2014.

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

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