South Sudan Catholic Radio Station Closed, Journalist Detained

Presidential Spokesperson Claims National Security Service Acted Alone, Not Ministry

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) Staff Reporter | 1088 hits

A journalist has been detained and a Catholic radio station has been shut down in South Sudan on grounds of "national security", local media reports.

The country's director of information at the National Security Service, Madut Wol, ordered the closure of Bakhita Radio Saturday and security agents detained one of the station's news editors, the Sudanese news service Radio Tamazuj reported.

Ateny Wek, a presidential spokesman, explained that the radio station had failed to report on the fighting yesterday according to the statement given by the army, which said that rebels attacked their positions yesterday. Instead, he alleged, the station reported that the army was responsible for the aggression. 

Wek insisted the stations was closed down “on the grounds of national security” and that South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and the country's Ministry for Information were not involved in the decision. A later report noted that President Kiir, a regular Mass-goer, skipped Mass at Kator Cathedral in Juba on Sunday.

On Friday, near Bentiu, the capital of Sudan's northern, oil-producing Unity State, government troops clashed with South Sudan rebels, despite the U.N. Security Council’s warning of sanctions if either side violated a ceasefire signed this May. 

The U.N. has been sheltering nearly 30,000 displaced by the fighting.