South Sudan: American journalist killed covering conflict

Christopher Allen, a US freelance reporter and photographer was killed in South Sudan on Sunday 27 August. The IFJ condemned the killing and called on both sides of the conflict to ensure the safety of reporters on the ground. 

The IFJ also urged journalists to take extreme caution when covering the conflict in South Sudan.  

Allen was embedded with rebel fighters in the town of Kaya in Yei River State when he was caught in the middle of clashes with government forces. He was reportedly wearing his jacket marked ‘PRESS’ at the time of his death, according to Al Jazeera.   

A spokesperson for the US embassy confirmed his death and has notified his family. Allen’s body has been taken to a military hospital in the country’s capital, Juba. 

15 rebel fighters as well as Allen and 3 government soldiers were killed in the fighting, according to the South Sudanese state broadcaster. 

Allen had previously covered the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, and reported for a number of news agencies including Al Jazeera and Vice News. 

“Today we mourn the death of our colleague Christopher Allen”, said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger. “As we send our condolences to his family and friends we also call on the armed groups in South Sudan to fulfil their obligations under international law and ensure that no more journalists are killed whilst reporting in the country. Christopher’s killing violates international humanitarian law which entitles journalists to all rights and protection during armed conflicts”. 

Christopher Allen’s death marks the 43rd journalist killed this year and the first in South Sudan in 2017. 

South Sudan’s ongoing civil war has lasted 4 years. Over 4 million people have been displaced fleeing famine and violence whilst deaths number in the tens of thousands. 

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