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Call for justice after body of South Sudan journalist dumped in farm

Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) has called on the government of South Sudan to shed the light over the murder of freelance journalist Isaac Vuni, whose body was discovered on Monday dumped in a farm in the Kerepi village located near the Ugandan border.

RSF said on its website that Vuni and his brother Andruga were abducted on June 4 and have not been seen since until Vuni’s body was discovered in a farm on Monday.

Vuni, a fierce critic of both President Salva Kiir and warlord Riek Machar, was working for the Sunday Tribune.  He was arrested for the first time in July 2009 after alleging in an article that top officials of President Salva Kiir’s army (SPLA) were involved in a corruption scandal, RSF said.

His brother is yet to be found, dead or alive.

Alfred Taban, head of Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS) told Eye Radio that Vuni’s killing was not surprising because the journalist had been complaining of being followed by unknown people and that he feaed for his life.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, is in the middle of an intense armed conflict between Kiir’s reckless, brutal army and rival Riek Machar’s rebels.

Seven journalists were killed in South Sudan last year, AFP reported, citing figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

“RSF condemns the assassination of Isaac Vuni and requests South Sudan authorities to investigate in order to find his killers and bring them to justice,” Cléa Kahn Sriber, RSF coordinator for Africa, said in a statement posted on the media watchdog website.

But, with South Sudan joining countries such as Bangladesh in the CPJ Global Impunity Index last year, it looks highly unlikely that those who killed Vuni – and probably his brother – may not be found.

In the past decade, 270 journalists have been murdered worldwide, CPJ said, adding that 2% only of cases are the masterminds ever prosecuted.

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