South Sudan: Bhakita Radio Shut Down Over Bentiu’s Defeat Reports, Journalists Detained!
The embattled government agents roundup the radio station in the early morning to arrest and shut down the independent radio network without any legal notification.
All the journalists found at the radio station were reportedly arrested and detained, a few kilometers away, at the national security building. According to National Carrier, most journalists have been released after intimidating interrogation.
The source reports that Bakhita’s News Editor Ocen David Nicholas is still under house arrest, however, latest reports confirm that the Catholic church is working closely with the government to get him released.
According to the released journalists they were arrested mainly because their colleagues broadcasted the defeat of Government troops in Bentiu, the capital of Unity state on Friday.
Government version of the same reports is dominated by massive victories that inflicts heavy losses, killing of generals, colonels and hundreds if not thousands of rebels. Nevertheless, the rebels are repulsed in a very short period of time.
“In Maan Kuach near Rubkona, a Brig. Gen. and two colonels were found dead. The number of rebel bodies discovered are 520. One Amphibious tank alone killed over 100 rebels. The number of rebels killed in Guit alone is 75. In Kaljak and Kuergueyni, 120 bodies of the rebels were discovered.” Buay reports from Washington.
Gordon Buay, is a member of SSLA rebels, which now fights alongside Salva Kiir allied forces. However, the God fearing radio station broadcasted the raw report as journalists obtained from their independent sources in Bentiu.
The government agents charged the journalists for “propagating lies pertaining to military operations, and propaganda.”.
Earlier recaptures of the oil hub city have been controversial for days as both sides claim control. Civilians were targeted by government youth in April in Bor Town’s UN compound for celebrating rebels’ victories in Unity state.
The minister of information and broadcasting, Michael Makuei Lueth, has warned several times that anti-government victories and other reports must not be celebrated or reported, otherwise, such journalists are considered rebels.
Journalists have been deported and others were forced to resign because of broadcasting a version that is not approved by the government.
“The media environment has become really difficult. It is difficult to report anything fairly and in a balanced manner in this kind of environment,” Omiri told IPS in April.
“We are being forced to report only what pleases the government. I don’t know how we are going to work,” he added.