The United States is demanding an official explanation from the government of South Sudan following an “irresponsible” statement it attributed to Minister Michael Makuei Lueth.
On Wednesday, the South Sudan Minister of Information made remarks in regards to the death of an American journalist in South Sudan in 2017.
Christopher Allen was killed while covering clashes between the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition at the border town of Kaya.
In his address in Juba during the celebration of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, Makuei was quoted by the media as saying that Mr. Allen was “a white rebel killed on the side of the rebels.”
“…I declared in a statement that we have killed a white rebel because he was killed on the side of the rebel. Now, can we be answerable or accountable for the death of such a journalist who knew that he entered South Sudan illegally and decided to be with the rebels who are fighting the government of South Sudan,” he is quoted as saying.
In reaction, the U.S. Embassy condemned the statement, describing it as reckless and unacceptable.
“Minister Makuei’s remarks would be irresponsible and reprehensible at any time but are all the more so as they were made on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists,” the embassy said in a statement issued on Friday.
Mr. Makuei is also the official spokesperson of the transitional government of national unity in South Sudan.
“The U.S. Embassy is seeking clarification as to whether these comments represent the position of the Government of South Sudan,” the statement read.
The U.S Embassy further renewed its calls for the government of South Sudan to conduct a credible inquiry into Mr. Allen’s death and to share its findings with his family.