AUGUST 31, 2017
U.S. Consul Denise Knapp, center, speaks to the media, accompanied by South Sudanese army officials and ministry of foreign affairs representatives, after the body of killed American journalist Christopher Allen was officially handed over to the U.S. embassy, at a mortuary in the capital Juba, South Sudan, on Aug. 29, 2017
South Sudan’s government ruled out investigating the killing of a U.S. journalist who it said entered the country illegally to work alongside rebels fighting in the more than three-year civil war.
.Christopher Allen, a freelance reporter, was killed Aug. 26 in clashes between government forces and insurgents in the country’s far south, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Juba. Allen had been denied legal entry in June because of “hostile reporting” and his illicit crossing meant he was a “criminal,” Lueth said.
“Allen died side by side with some of his rebel colleagues,” he said. “This time we will not accept responsibility for this.” He said the government regretted the 26-year-old’s death.
The civil war that began in oil-producing South Sudan in December 2013 has claimed tens of thousands of lives and forced more than 3.5 million people to flee their homes. Authorities have closed and blocked access to news outlets and arrested and expelled reporters in response to coverage of the fighting, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
The army’s chief medical officer, Peter Ajak Bullen, told the Associated Press that Allen was shot in the head with a “large bullet.” The military also said there was no indication Allen was a journalist and that the media wouldn’t be protected if they traveled with rebels, according to the AP. The U.S. Embassy in Juba confirmed a U.S. citizen was killed and it was providing counseling for the family, declining to give further information.