Attack on Gurtong Journalists and Driver in Juba

A Press Release

Juba, Dec 10, 2012

Gurtong has remained silent up to now to ascertain the facts behind the incident before going public by making this statement.

On Friday, December 7, three of our state journalists (who were in Juba for in-house training) and our driver were assaulted and badly beaten in Juba. While they were being driven to a house in Juba 107 (west of the city), a marked police vehicle pulled up ahead of them and blocked their path. Three uniformed officers started shouting questions at the driver and accusing him of not having given them way, even though there was nothing to indicate the officers were in a hurry to some emergency. They proceeded to pull the driver out of the car, started beating him then pushed him into their marked vehicle and sped off.

One of our journalists got behind the wheels and followed the police car. In the process of wanting to know where they were taking the driver, one of our journalists took photographs of the back of the vehicle as evidence in case they lost them. They were led later led to Barrack Mia Saba west of Juba where they located our driver. But they were accused of taking photographs of the vehicle and spying for Khartoum. Their identity cards were pushed aside and were beaten one by one. Luckily for them two senior police officers in civilian clothes happened to see the torture being mated upon the journalists. They pleaded with the attackers not to torture civilians but they were in turn threatened with violence. The police officers left them to their own fate; but the police appearance on the scene must have alerted the attackers to realise that they had been found out and could not proceed with whatever plans they had in store for their victims; so they eventually brought them to the central police station, still beating them and accusing them of being spies for Khartoum.

But in the process of these beatings and accusations, a senior police officer had reason to believe that the assailants were no doubt the criminals in uniform President Kiir has been talking about publicly. They were in turn arrested, beaten and detained while the Gurtong staff were told to go. Money and other property were taken from them by their assailants and by the time of going to press have not been returned. They have been given medical treatment and advised to open a court case against their attackers.

Gurtong Trust - Peace and Media project condemns in no uncertain terms this cowardly and savage attack on our journalists and driver. But, while we appreciate the actions of the senior police officer in securing the release of our reporters and driver and for detaining the culprits, we condemn in equal terms the beating of those who beat our staff. Answering violence with violence can only lead our country into a state of anarchy. Gurtong believes in peaceful resolutions of issues and the law must be left to take its full course for a just and fair society.  

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRESS RELEASE

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