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South Sudan deports American freelance journalist

December 7, 2016

The last foreign reporter living in South Sudan said Wednesday he had been deported from the war-torn country after a series of articles critical of the government.

In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Justin Lynch, 25, said he was “arrested and deported” by the South Sudan National Security Service on Tuesday without explanation.

“The officers did not officially present me with a reason for my arrest and deportation, but repeatedly said my reporting was too critical of the government,” Lynch said.

In recent months Lynch has reported on massacres, sexual slavery and the looming threat of genocide.

Last month, he was the first journalist to report on a new wave of ethnic killings mostly by government troops in the town of Yei.

In the weeks that followed, the UN alleged ethnic cleansing and a US diplomat said government forces were mobilising militia and targeting civilians in the area.

Much of Lynch’s work from South Sudan over the last year has been published by the US-based Associated Press (AP) news agency. He has also written for the Christian Science Monitor, Daily Beast and New Yorker.

Lynch described his deportation as “a violation of press freedom” but said his South Sudanese colleagues have it worse and are “frequently the victim of intimidation or even death.”

South Sudanese journalists are frequently harassed, intimidated, beaten or abducted, and sometimes killed. The Committee to Protect Journalists ranks South Sudan as the fifth worst country in the world when it comes to holding the killers of journalists to account.

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