The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) expressed deep concern today at the reported murder of journalist Diing Chan Awol and added its voice to the growing calls for a full investigation into the killing.
According to media reports, Mr. Awol – who was a former UN staff member during the Sudanese civil war in the 1990s and worked as a government official at the time of his death – also went by the pseudonym Isaiah Abraham, penning articles for news websites including the Sudan Tribune and Gurtong, where he was often critical of the South Sudanese government.
On the morning of 5 December, he was reportedly dragged from his home on the outskirts of the South Sudanese capital of Juba by unidentified gunmen and shot to death.
In a news statement underscoring the “utmost importance” of a full and thorough investigation into Mr. Awol’s murder, UNMISS also reiterated its “strong support to freedom of expression as a cornerstone to democracy.”
In addition, the UN peacekeeping mission noted it would continue to provide “extensive support” to local police in an effort to help them improve security in the country as well as investigate crimes and bring perpetrators to justice.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July last year, six years after the signing of the peace agreement that ended decades of warfare between the north and the south. During the same month, the Security Council established UNMISS with the purpose of consolidating peace and security and to help establish conditions for development.