FBI agent heads to S.Sudan to investigate journalist's killing

Reuters , Tuesday 18 Dec 2012

Following the death of South Sudanese journalist in early December, FBI official is set to travel to the newly independent country to investigate the killing

Journalists carry signs demanding freedom of press and expression during a demonstration against the violations of security services towards the press and journalists outside the Council of the Press and Publication in Khartoum May, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

A senior US Federal Bureau of Investigation official will travel to South Sudan to help investigate the killing of a journalist critical of the government, the US embassy said on Tuesday.

Diing Chan Awuol, who wrote online opinion pieces for newspapers and blogs, was shot in the face at his home in Juba this month, police said.

Journalists frequently complain of harassment and detention by South Sudan's security services, but it was the first time one had been killed since the country became independent last year.

On 13 December, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir accepted an offer from the US ambassador of FBI assistance in finding the killer, the US embassy said in a statement. The official will arrive this week, it added.

A week before his death, Awuol - who wrote under the pen name Isaiah Abraham - had complained unknown men were trying to silence him, his brother said this month.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan under the terms of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war. The long conflict left the new nation severely underdeveloped and awash with weapons.

France-based Reporters Without Borders ranks South Sudan 111th out of 179th in its 2011-2012 press freedom index.

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