South Sudan’s National Security Service in Juba on Saturday arrested a journalist working for al-Watan Arabic daily newspaper over a report on deployment of regional troops in South Sudan.
The arrested journalist is chief editor Michael Christopher, who formerly worked as a presenter for SSTV.
The African Union and IGAD, a regional peacekeeping body, both proposed sending a regional security force to South Sudan to separate the government and opposition after fighting last two weeks.
Abraham Malek, head of the South Sudan Journalist’s Network, told Radio Tamazuj yesterday that the chief editor was arrested after his newspaper reported that the first batch of regional troops would arrive in Juba today.
Malek further said Al-Watan newspaper had published an inaccurate story on its front page that a regional force would entre South Sudan on Monday. He explained that South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei announced the arrival of a delegation from the African Union Peace and Security Council on Monday not regional forces.
“Our colleague Michael Christopher has been arrested after publishing a report on the arrival of regional forces” said Malek. “I think the newspaper was not professional enough in reporting what was announced by the minister of information” he explained.
He pointed out that the newspaper’s deputy chief editor held a press conference over the weekend in which he apologized officially to the government.
The South Sudanese journalist called on the relevant authorities to release Michael Christopher or take him to court.
In May, Michael Christopher was also arrested and then released by police authorities at Malakia police station over alleged defamation of an SPLA general.