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South Sudanese journalist released after detention in Wau

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June 22, 2015 (JUBA) - A South Sudanese journalist has been released after spending a night behind bars at the military headquarters in Wau town, capital of Western Bahr el Ghazal state.

Relatives and companions on Monday told Sudan Tribune that James Deng Dimo, a freelance reporter in the state was stopped at Nazareth Market on Saturday at around 3pm and taken to Grinti, a military base in the state where he was later on released on Sunday at 10am.

The cause of the detention remained unclear and Sudan Tribune was unable to independently verify circumstances provoking the action of military intelligence officers in the area.

The victim confirmed his Saturday’s arrest and the subsequent release on Sunday, commending the intervention of the division commander of the government forces in the state, Major General David Manyok Barac.

“I was arrested on Saturday and released on Sunday without explanation. They just apologised,” Deng told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

Deng however explained that although there was no proper explanation given for his arrest, it seemed the intelligence officers harassed him because he left the army officially and took up the profession of journalism.

“There was no explanation. One of the military intelligence officers called Athian Akol Diing approached me in Nazareth market and asked me, Deng, do you have a problem with me? I said no,” he recalled.

“Then he asked another question, where do you work? I said I am journalist. He then said I knew you were a soldier before, how did you leave the military? I said I left it because I was released, and he said where is the document showing you were released? I said I left the military and I am now a journalist and showed him my identity cards,” he further explained.

Deng said the officer instead turned around and called three other officers and took him to a military barrack where he was detained and spent the night in the detention until the following morning when the division commander intervened and ordered for his release.

The cases of harassment, torture and even killing of journalists by security personnel has been reportedly rampant in South Sudan as both national security and military intelligence officers continue to violate their freedom in the war-ravaged country.

(ST)

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