Alfred Taban, for many years the BBC’s reporter in Sudan, has been arrested.
Alfred – an invaluable source of information, left the BBC some years ago.
He took risks reporting out of Khartoum and was arrested several times.
As a southerner he was always regarded with suspicion by the authorities.
But he was an award winning journalist, breaking many stories, as his Wikipedia biography makes clear.
South Sudanese editor arrested after calling on Kiir & Machar to step down
JUBA (17 Jul.) Radio Tamazuj
South Sudanese security personnel on Saturday arrested Alfred Taban,
the editor in chief of an independent English newspaper, the Juba
Monitor, family members and journalists said.
Ann Nimiriano Nunu Siya, the associate editor at the paper, said in an
interview on Saturday that she received a call from security personnel
who said they were looking for her and Alfred but found him in the
church attending prayer services.
The security personnel kept calling for him while praying until he
finished his prayers and he came out to learn about it, according to
Nimiriano. They then decided to go to the headquarters of the National
Security Service where she was let go and Alfred was immediately put
in the detention without giving him the opportunity to explain
himself, and without regard to his health.
“They took him straight to detention. They told the soldiers in my
presence to arrest him.”
She added, “They arrested him at 4pm. They said the opinion article
Alfred wrote in his column yesterday (Friday) was an incitement and
ordered the closure of the paper with immediate effect.”
She attributed their irritation to Alfred’s call for the resignation
of President Salva Kiir and the first vice president, Riek Machar,
saying both of them have failed and can never work together.
The column by Alfred Taban was headed, “Salva Kiir, Dr. Riek Machar
should be removed.”
He stated in the article, “President Salva Kiir and his first deputy
Dr. Riek Machar have completely failed,” adding that they were either
unable or unwilling to control their forces “who killed scores of
people in Juba, including soldiers and civilians and looted the
properties of many people of Juba.”
“These troops have also raped women, extorted money from passengers
and drivers and burnt down houses of innocent civilians. The two
leaders declared a ceasefire only after hundreds of people had already
been killed,” wrote the chief editor.
Alfred Taban went on to say that Salva Kiir had been warned that the
shooting of several SPLA-IO soldiers in Juba in separate unexplained
attacks “would lead to a disastrous response but little was done to
bring the killings to an end. None of the murderers was also
apprehended.” He further blamed Kiir for failing to settle the issue
of cantonment sites prior to the violence last week.
This is not the first time that Alfred Taban has faced arrest and his
newspaper the Juba Monitor shut. Since 2013, more than five newspapers
have been extrajudicially closed by the National Security Service in
South Sudan’s capital Juba.