HomeFOREIGN FILESouth Sudan Detains 6 Journalists Over Footage Of President Allegedly Wetting Himself

South Sudan Detains 6 Journalists Over Footage Of President Allegedly Wetting Himself

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The South Sudan Union of Journalists has announced the arrest and detention of six journalists over the circulation of footage showing President Salva Kiir seemingly urinating on himself at an official event.

All six journalists work with the state-run South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation.

They are camera operators Joseph Oliver and Mustafa Osman; video editor Victor Lado; contributor Jacob Benjamin; and Cherbek Ruben and Joval Toombe from the control room.

The footage from December showed a dark stain spread down the 71-year-old South Sudanese President’s grey trousers as he stood for the national anthem at a road commissioning event.

The South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation claims the footage was never aired on television.

The video, however, circulated on social media.

The President of the South Sudan Union of Journalists, Mr. Patrick Oyet, stated that the six journalists were detained on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Oyet told Reuters that they “are suspected of having knowledge of how the video of the President urinating himself came out”.

He added: “We are concerned because those who are detained now have stayed longer than what the law says.”

Under South Sudanese law, authorities are allowed to detain suspects for only 24 hours before charging them to court.

Sub-Saharan Africa representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Muthoki Mumo, while calling for their release, said that the case of the six detained journalists “matches a pattern of security personnel resorting to arbitrary detention whenever officials deem coverage unfavourable”.

There have been frequent calls by rights groups on the South Sudanese authorities to stop harassing and threatening journalists.

South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei and National Security Service spokesperson David Kumuri did not immediately respond to requests for comment, according to Reuters.

However, the BBC quoted Makuei as having told Voice of America radio that people should wait to learn why the journalists were detained.

Mr. Kiir has been President since 2011, following the independence of South Sudan – Africa’s newest country – after excision from Sudan.

South Sudanese Government officials have consistently denied rumours circulating on social media that the President is unwell.

The young nation has contended with several crises, including brutal conflict, political turmoil, natural disasters and hunger, for much of the past decade.

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