Online news outlet Sudan Bukra and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urge the Sudanese authorities to investigate and hold to account those responsible for killing journalist Halima Idris. She was killed by members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in an Omdurman street on Tuesday.
The reporter was run over by an RSF vehicle “while reporting for the media channel on Tuesday afternoon,” Sudan Bukra said on its website on Wednesday.
“We want to know the truth and demand an independent criminal investigation to into the circumstances of the incident,” the independent non-profit media outlet stated. She was killed when “she was performing her respected media duty in the circumstances of this damned war”.
Sudan Bukra, established after the ousting of the Omar Al Bashir regime in April 2019, called her death a “great loss”.
The victim, who joined Sudan Bukra in November 2022, “contributed, along with her colleagues, to conveying the reality of a country in crisis after the ill-fated coup” – carried out jointly by the army and the RSF on October 25, 2021.
“After the outbreak of the armed conflict between the generals of the Sudanese Security Committee on April 15, she remained in Omdurman with a few fellow reporters, covering the fighting,” the media outlet explains.
“When the battles intensified, Idris left the capital, but later she boldly decided to return to Omdurman. She was the only reporter left covering the war and the patriotic work carried out by young people in the Ombadda Emergency Rooms and in the hospitals and health centres still operating. She had just finished covering a subject coverage and on her way to another place, when the RSF vehicle killed her.”
The Sudanese Journalists’ Network (SJN) said in a press statement on Wednesday that Idris “was an example of a professional media personality who was committed to the issues of her country and its people”.
The statement called on “relevant organisations and free people around the world to stand by the Sudanese journalists who are doing their work in extremely difficult and complex conditions”.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also called for an investigation into the violent incident, in order to “hold to account those responsible for the Tuesday, October 10 killing of Sudanese journalist Halima Idris Salim”.
In a statement yesterday, the CPJ urged “all parties to the ongoing armed conflict in the country to respect the press and guarantee journalists’ safety”.
“We are shocked by the brutal killing of journalist Halima Idris Salim in Omdurman, Sudan, and stand in solidarity with her family and colleagues at Sudan Bukra,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator.
“It is deeply troubling that a journalist was killed during her coverage of the armed conflict in her hometown. All parties of the conflict in Sudan must respect freedom of the press and journalist safety.”
CPJ’s emails to the SAF and RSF received no replies.
Assaulted, abducted, assassinated
Since the outbreak of the war between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the RSF, journalists in Sudan have faced assaults, threats, enforced disappearances, and detentions, by both Military Intelligence and the RSF.
Dozens of human rights violations against journalists and other press workers have been reported in Sudan since April 15. Most of the newspapers and radio stations have been forced to close because of the fighting and the repression.
Radio Dabanga, in cooperation with 17 other news outlets issued a joint plea in mid-August, to address the critical state of press freedom in Sudan.
Before April 15, Sudan already ranked 148 out of 180 in the 2023 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, and 29 out of 100 (i.e. ‘Not Free’) in Freedom House’s Internet Freedom Index.