An American #Freelance Journalist who has been identified as Christoper Allen has been killed in South Sudan amid heavy fighting between government forces and rebels, according to Reuters.
Allen was among 19 others who have lost their lives in the battle that took place in the Yei River state. South Sudan has been in turmoil since 2013 with President Salva Kiir’s government troops fighting against rebel leader Riek Machar’s militia.
Santo Domic Chol, a military spokesperson, said sixteen bodies were found on the ground, among whom was Allen. Chol also added that three government soldiers have also been killed.
Allen was learning about the rebels
It was the rebels who identified Allen‘s body, claiming that the U.S.
citizen had been with them for a week, learning about their lives and their cause, in order to publicise their story to the world.
One particular rebel who requested not to be named has claimed that Allen had been in the middle of the fighting wearing a PRESS jacket. “We are sad for his family. He came here to tell our story,” he said.
Chol added that the fighting ensued when the rebel forces attacked an army base in Kaya. They were driven away after an hour-long battle.
South Sudan’s civil war
South Sudan descended into #Civil War when President Kiir sacked Machar, according to Eye Witness News. The rebel leader acted as the first Vice President of South Sudan following the tiny nation’s independence in 2011. In February 2013, he publicly admitted his ambition to challenge Kiir for the presidency.
By July that year, Machar and the entire cabinet were fired by Kiir, which Machar described as a move of a dictator.
This consequently broke into all out war between Kiir’s government and Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In-Opposition, an anti-government rebel group. As a result of this, more than four million people had to evacuate their homelands. Uganda currently harbours more than a million South Sudanese refugees while neighbours Ethiopia host around 333,000.
This is the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world at the moment as hopes for peace in the tiny oil rich but indigent country appear slim in the foreseeable future. A peace accord was signed in 2015 and Machar returned to the capital to share power with Kiir. But unfortunately, the wheels came off that deal less than three months later, and Machar had to flee the city with his rebels.
The United States government is yet to make a statement on Allen’s death.