Peter Moi was yesterday, August 19th, shot dead near the offices of The New Nation newspaper in Juba where he worked. The incident comes three days after South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir made a comment on Sunday threatening to kill journalists for reporting 'against the country.'
"If anybody among you does not know that this country has killed people, we will demonstrate it one day, one time.... Freedom of the press does not mean you work against the country." he said.
Moi's father Julius Kilong told reporters he found his son's body near UNMISS in Jebel at a place called Hai Gomaroya after receiving a phone call at about 8:30 about the shooting. He said local residents told him they heard gunfire at around 8 pm. Julius said his son was shot twice in the back but police prevented him from looking closer at the wounds. Photographs of the body reveal bloodstains on the left torso.
According to AFP, his cell phone and money were not taken from his dead body which could indicate a targeted attack. The head of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) Oliver Modi said the president's statement may have contributed to Peter's murder.
"This might also been taking by some individuals and then they acted to confirm what the president has said. I would appeal to the president to give a press statement against his words so that the people of the Republic of South Sudan will get convinced of what he has said because now we have already started losing journalists," he said.
While condemning the killing, Modi called on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to account.
“This is not what the vision of this country. When we moved from 1955 up to date the vision is very clear to establish to establish a new nation, and that was very clear in the words of the late Dr John Garang, moving from dictatorship of Khartoum regimes to a nation where we can guarantee freedom of expression, freedom of media.” he added.
At least seven journalists have been killed in direct relation to their work in South Sudan this year, including journalists killed by unidentified gunmen during a January ambush of an official convoy traveling through Western Bahr el Ghazal state.
President Kiir is under pressure to sign a proposed peace deal to end South Sudan's 20-month civil war. He refused to sign the deal during a trip to Addis Ababa this week. The war has killed thousands of South Sudanese and displaced more than 2.2 million people, including more than 700,000 to nearby countries.
Source: Radio Tamazuj (Sudanese news)