Towards the end of last month, American freelance journalist Christopher Allen was killed in a clash between Government forces (SPLA) and a rebel group. South SudanThe political situation in remains troubled, leading to a precarious and volatile security dynamic.

Allen was embedded with SPLA-IO group, along with two other journalists, at his time of death. Eighteen other people were killed in the attack in Kaya on Saturday 26th August, which took place near the borders with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The SPLA and SPLA-IO have disputed whether Allen was wearing a vest that identified him as a member of the press when he was killed. SPLA-IO commander, Colonel Paul Lam, claims Allen was specifically targeted for taking photos of the fighting, telling the AFP – “Allen was targeted. The person who shot saw him very clearly.” The authorities claim there was nothing on Allen to indicate his press credentials.

From Bloomberg Politics

Probe of U.S. Journalist’s Death Ruled Out by South Sudan Government

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.

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From a press release from Allen’s family

The Family of Journalist Christopher Allen Joins the Calls for a Full Investigation Into His Wrongful Death in South Sudan

Allen was a freelance reporter and photographer who covered stories for several news outlets, including the Independent, Telegraph, Guardian and Al-Jazeera. Both UNESCO and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the killing and affirmed Allen was deserving of civilian status in keeping with the Geneva Conventions, which should have protected him in a time of war.

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South Sudan very dangerous for journalists

From the Voice of America

South Sudan Says No Hint That Dead American Was Journalist

Allen is the 10th journalist and the first international journalist to be killed in South Sudan since 2012, according to the United Nations. South Sudan is one of the harshest places in the world for journalists, according to press freedom groups. In the past few months, 15 South Sudanese journalists have been detained, beaten or denied access to information, according to the Union of Journalists in South Sudan, and more than 20 foreign journalists have been denied entry or kicked out.

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