South Sudan

SPLA slams barbaric shooting of Tamazuj journalist


Radio Tamazuj


Pow James Raeth, a correspondent for a South Sudan Radio, Tamazuj, was shot dead on Wednesday by unknown assailants.

He was based in Akobo and has been working for the radio since early April.

He had previously also reported for Radio Miraya and Gurtong.

The radio said in a statement that the journalist was shot dead while walking with a friend in the Akobo area while returning from an office.

County Commissioner, Tut Chol Rial, said the shooting of Pow James was “not intentional, it was a crossfire,” while linking the incident to a feud between two clans in the area.

A ‘peace ambassador’ from the area, Gatwech Koak Nyuon, identified the other victim as Yohannes Pal Kuek, a university student.

“Pal and Puok had nothing to do with this conflict between Chie-tot and Chie-Majoak of Akobo East. Of course, Yohannes Pal is from Chie-tot, but he knew nothing about the conflict. He was just an innocent intellectual who went to Akobo for Data Collection on his Master’s Degree Thesis. Mr. Puok James was innocently killed because he walked with his friend – Pal. They both were killed while visiting some NGOs’ vicinity in order to access Internet.”

Radio Tamazuj Director, Hildebrand Bijleveld, condemned the killing of their employee.

At the time of his death, Pow James was working on a story about relations between the Murle and Lou Nuer tribes, and he had also recently returned from a trip to the Gambella Region of Ethiopia where he covered local peace-building efforts.

Previously, he was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) for coverage of efforts to identify abducted children and reunify them across tribal lines in Jonglei State.

Pow James grew up in the Adjumani District in Northern Uganda with other South Sudanese refugees.

Although he hailed from the Nuer tribe, he proudly said that he spoke several other South Sudanese languages including Madi, Bari, Kuku and Acholi.

He held a diploma in journalism and mass communication from the Uganda Media, Consultants and Trainers (UMCAT) School of Journalism and Business Management in Kampala, Uganda.

SPLA condemns the murder

SPLA in a statement described the killing of Reith and his colleague Puok Pal in Akobo County of Jonglei State as barbaric.

Colonel Philip Aguer Panyang told Catholic Radio Network on Thursday in telephone interview that it is a crime to kill a journalist, calling on concerned authorities to bring the murderers to book because journalists are civilians and none combatant.

He said the security situation remains fragile in some parts of Jonglei.

Colonel Aguer said that the SPLA is not in control of Akobo where the killings too place.

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