August 13, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – South Sudan minister of information, Baranaba Benjamin Marial, has declared retraction of statements in which he accused an international reporter covering his country of being a paid agent of rival Sudan.
- FILE – South Sudan’s Media Minister Barnaba Benjamin Marial (REUTERS)
Marial charged in an interview with Sudan Radio Service last week that Alan Boswell, the Africa correspondent of the U.S.-based McClathcy newspaper, is “in the pay of Khartoum” following the publication of a report in which the latter cited a former U.S. official as saying that South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit had sent an “apology letter” to his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama explaining why he twice denied knowledge of his country’s support to rebel groups in neighboring Sudan.
The official, whose country maintains it does not support Sudanese rebels, strongly denied the existence of such letter.
Four days later, McClatchy sent Marial a strongly worded letter accusing him of making a baseless charge and demanding a retraction. In his first response, which Sudan Tribune seen in writing, the official fell short of repeating the charge but he also made no clear retraction, accusing Boswell of waging a “pro-Khartoum campaign”
However, Marial issued a statement on Monday retracting his charge against Boswell and saying it was meant as a "figurative and not literal description of writing."
"Nonetheless, my choice of words was not intended to be inflammatory. For the sake of understanding and harmony, we retract the statement of Mr. Boswell being in the pay of Khartoum."
The official expressed hope that McClathcy’s reporting is not selective or bias and concluded that the newspaper is welcome to visit South Sudan at any time.
Boswell told Sudan Tribune on Friday that the events cited in his report “still stand as true and accurate” pointing out that no official from the U.S. government or South Sudan