South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) has reportedly released three of the seven detained journalists it arrested in January over a viral video of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
In a footage circulated on social media in December 2022, President Kiir could be seen wetting on himself in public during an inauguration of a road project connecting the country’s capital Juba to several states of the Greater Bahr el Ghazal region.
The footage angered the president and his allies in the National Security Service arrested six journalists on January six, accusing them of standing behind the circulation of the video on line. In late January, another journalist was detained in relation to the video.
A Juba-based lawyer who requested not to be named told Radio Tamazuj that three of the detained journalists were released about two weeks ago, but four of them were still in detention and were still being investigated.
“3 journalists were released 2 weeks ago but the other 4 are still in detention. Those released are Joval Tombe, the control room director, Cherbek Reuben, the control room technician and Joseph Oliver a cameraman, while those still in detention at the Blue House are Victor Lado, a senior editor, Benjamin Jacob, Mustafa Osman, and Garang John,” he said.
For his part, the chair of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan reiterated the commitment of the body in helping the journalists access legal assistance.
“For close to two months now, we are following this issue and we now have a lawyer who is following the case. The lawyer is very committed and he has submitted a lot of requests to all the offices he has been told to,” he stated.
“I would like to tell our colleagues (journalists) that we have never given up and we will never give up and we are following up the case until our colleagues are out,” he affirmed.