American journalist among 19 killed in South Sudan

Christopher Allen was a freelance journalist Christopher Allen was a freelance journalist The war zone freelance project

20 September 2017
A freelance reporter in South Sudan has been killed during a fighting between government soldiers and rebels.

Nineteen people, including the American freelance journalist Christopher Allen, have been killed in a fighting in the town of Kaya, in South Sudan, near the borders with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The clash broke out on August 26 between government forces and rebels. Since the end of 2013, South Sudan has been involved in a vicious civil war between the President Salva Kiir, supported by government troops, and the former Vice President Riek Machar, sustained by the self-titled ‘rebels’. Kiir and Machar belong to two different ethnic groups, respectively the Dinka and the Nuer, and the entire country is inflamed by this ethnic tension. According to the United Nations, the conflict left 1,89 million people internally displaced and 1,97 million refugees in other countries.

Christopher Allen, 26 years-old, had been working for several news outlets as a freelance journalist. Lately he was covering the civil conflict in South Sudan and had been embedded with the rebel forces with other two journalists. According to a rebel soldiers, he was wearing a jacket marked "press" at the time of the killing.

The death of Allen was confirmed during a press conference on August 29. According to the news agency Associated Press, during the conference, South Sudan army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said that journalists who enter the country with rebel forces will not be protected. The Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ), an American independent organisation that promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists, has called for an investigation into Allen’s death. “Taking photographs and reporting events is not attacking. It is journalistic work done by civilians, who are protected under international law”, said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal.

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