Ugandan journalists filming Juba detained

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July 29, 2013

Two journalists, Justin Dralaze and Hilary Ayesiga, filming Juba, the capital city, are arrested by the South Sudan internal security officials on Saturday. Justin Dralaze is believed to be a correspondent for the Reuters. Hilary Ayesiga is a freelance journalist from Uganda. The two are arrested near the airport and taken to a military establishment for questioning / interrogation. South Sudan authorities say the two journalists neither have any press permits nor a formal accreditation.

The news about the arrest was confirmed the Cleophas Muhatana, the Security attaché at the Ugandan Embassy in Juba. The news is also confirmed by a senior official at the South Sudan Information Ministry, Mustafa Biong. Muhatana said that the Embassy is in touch with the Directorate of Security Services.

Condemning the detention, Uganda Journalist Union President Lucy Anyango Ekadu said, "We condemn in the strongest terms possible the arrest and detention of the journalists in a military establishment, moreover incommunicado... We call on the Juba authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the two journalists."

The Head the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), Oliver Modi, speaking to the media, said relations between the security services and the media are deteriorated recently. He cited the examples of three South Sudanese journalists who are detained briefly during the last week. While one of them was detained in Juba, the other two detentions are done in Unity.

Meanwhile, diplomatic action has begun to secure the safe release of the two journalists. Ambassador James Mugume, the Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, he has ordered Maj Gen Robert Rusoke, Uganda's ambassador in South Sudan, to handle the matter.

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