Sudan: Vetran journalist arrested in Juba

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - A veteran South Sudanese journalist, Alfred Taban, has been held in security custody since Sunday for calling on South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Rick Machar to step down so as to help resolve the current crisis in their country, a Sudanese newspaper reported on Monday.

The Al Tayar daily quoted a family member as saying Taban was arrested when he went to the security headquarters in Juba following a phone call that he should report to the authorities along with a young female reporter. The female reporter, Ann Nimiryanoa, who is a relative of Taban on his paper, Juba Monitor, was released later.

Mr Taban, Editor-in-Chief and owner of the independent Juba Monitor, was known to be a human rights advocate before his country seceded from Sudan in 2011. While in Khartoum, he published, along with two southerners and one northerner, an independent daily known as Khartoum Monitor that advocated freedoms and human rights.

When he moved to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, he started publishing Juba Monitor from Kampala, Uganda, because of printing challenges in South Sudan but he himself remained in Juba.

Ms Nimiryano said she went with Taban to the security headquarters where he was detained and she was allowed to leave.

She said the security officers did not interrogate him nor did they level any accusations, they just locked him behind bars.

She said she believed Taban was arrested because he wrote a ”provocative column” that called on Kiir and Machar to step down so as to help resolve the crisis in South Sudan. She said the column had the headline, "Kiir and Machar have to be dismissed."

"It is regrettable indeed that our colleague, Alfred Taban, the Editor-in-Chief of Juba Monitor, in South Sudan should be arrested for only expressing a political view in that country where he demanded that Kiir and Machar step down to help resolve the crisis,” the Editor-in-Chief of the Al Tayar daily, Osman Mirghani, wrote on Monday.

He said Taban was known to be professional and objective in his writing and his comments.

The latest round of fighting in South Sudan, which has claimed more than 260 lives, erupted on 7 July in Juba’s Gudele neighbourhood, pitting troops loyal to President Kiir First Vice President Machar.

Then on the evening of 8 July, gunfire erupted outside the presidential palace where the President and the Vice President were meeting. At a joint press conference afterwards, the two leaders called for calm and urged their forces to stop fighting.

There was further exchange of heavy gunfire on Sunday morning with some artillery shells landing in UN compounds, and further reports of fighting on Monday 11 July.
-0- PANA MO/MA 18July2016

18 july 2016 09:38:05

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