[1/2] South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir speaks at a press conference at the State House, Juba, South Sudan, March 28, 2022. REUTERS/Jok Solomun/File photo
NAIROBI, January 7th, 2017 – Six South Sudanese journalists were detained for circulating footage of President Salva Kiir wetting himself at an official event. The national journalists union stated on Saturday.
The December footage showed a dark stain on the president, aged 71, as he performed the national anthem at an event for road commissioning. Although the video was not broadcast on television, it was shared on social media.
Patrick Oyet (president of the South Sudan Union of Journalists) stated that the journalists were taken into custody by the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation.
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He told Reuters that they “are suspected to have knowledge of how the video of President urinating himself came forth.”
South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei, and National Security Service spokesperson David Kumuri didn’t immediately respond to inquiries for comment.
Since 2011, when South Sudan gained independence, Kiir has been President. Rumours that Kiir is ill have been denied by government officials. For much of the last decade, the country has been involved in conflict.
Oyet stated that the journalists detained are Joseph Oliver and Mustafa Osman, camera operators; video editor Victor Lado and Jacob Benjamin; contributor Jacob Benjamin; Cherbek Ruben; and Joval Toombe, both from the control room.
He said, “We are concerned that those currently detained have stayed longer then what the law requires,” he continued.
South Sudanese authorities can only detain suspects within 24 hours of their arrest before they bring them before a judge.
Muthoki Mumo, sub-Saharan Africa representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists said that the incident “matches the pattern of security personnel resorting to arbitrarily detention whenever officials consider coverage to be unfavorable.”