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Journalist quizzed about Riek Machar in Sudan

August 30 - 2016 KHARTOUM
(file photo)
(file photo)

The Sudanese security service has interrogated journalist Yousif El Jalal, author of an article about last week's reception of South Sudanese opposition leader Riek Machar in Khartoum.

El Jalal published the article in El Saiha newspaper on Saturday. He wrote that Khartoum “has saved Riek Machar from death” after he was evacuated from Juba, where he was in the midst of clashes between his fighters and government soldiers in July. Machar fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the UN peacekeeping mission handed him over to the state authorities mid-August.

“The Sudanese governments wants to keep the strategic advantage to have a greater role in determining the political future of South Sudan,” the article reads.

A media source told Radio Dabanga that security agents called journalist El Jalal on Sunday and requested him to appear in their office for interrogation. Two security agents questioned him for four hours about who provided the information for the statements in his article, according to the source.

On 9 July South Sudan witnessed the five-year anniversary of its independence from Sudan. This August marks the one-year anniversary of the signing of the peace deal between President Kiir and Riek Machar, after the young country had plummeted into a civil war since December 2013. The war was sparked by heavy clashes between Kiir's Dinka and Machar's Nuer forces – the two largest tribes in South Sudan – in the city of Juba.

Fighting between Machar's forces and the South Sudanese army flared again in July and the opposition leader left the country, just when he was about to resume his role as vice-president. He received urgent medical treatment in Khartoum, according to the government's official spokesman Ahmed Bilal Osman.

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