[1/2]South Sudan President Salva Kiir addresses an audience at the State House in Juba on March 28, 2022. REUTERS/Jok Solomun/File Photograph
NAIROBI – Six South Sudanese journalists have been arrested for the publication of footage that showed President Salvakiir soaking at an official event.
The December footage showed the President, 71 years old, with a dark stain running down his grey trousers while he sang the national anthem during a road commissioning ceremony. This video was never broadcast on TV, but it was later shared via social media.
Patrick Oyet president of South Sudan Union of Journalists said that journalists who worked with the state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation were detained Tuesday and Wednesday.
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According to Reuters, they are “suspicious of knowing how the video of the president urinating came out,” he said.
South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei did not respond immediately to requests for comment. David Kumuri, spokesperson for the National Security Service, did not respond.
Since South Sudan’s independence in 2011, Kiir is the president. Social media rumors that Kiir is sick have been denied repeatedly by government officials. The country has been in conflict for most of the past decade.
Oyet reported that Joseph Oliver and Mustafa Osman are the camera operators, video editor Victor Lado, and Jacob Benjamin. Cherbek Ruben was also present. Joval Toombe was in control room.
He added, “We are worried because those detained now have stayed more than what the law allows,”
South Sudanese authorities have the right to hold suspects for 24 hours before bringing them in front of a judge.
Muthoki Momo, sub-Saharan Africa representative to the Committee to Protect Journalists stated that the incident “matches an existing pattern of security staff resorting to arbitrary arrest whenever officials deem coverage to be detrimental.”