US reporter killed covering South Sudan clashes

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Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers ride on a boat on the Nile river on their way to Aleleo, Fashoda State, on October 16, 2016, after the SPLA accused the opposition forces of attacking their defensive positions in the area. Heavy fighting broke out on October 14 between SPLA (Government) and opposition forces in Wajwok and Lalo villages, outside Malakal. SPLA commanders claim they succeeded to keep their positions and assure their forces just responded "on self defence." Opposition forces lost over 56 soldiers and the SPLA recovered more than 200 guns, but the SPLA also suffered casualties of 4 deaths and 22 wounded soldiers in both attacks.
An American journalist has been killed while covering clashes between government and rebel forces in restive South Sudan, local officials and the US mission in Juba said on Sunday.Christopher Allen, a freelance reporter and photographer, was embedded with insurgent troops when fighting broke out in Kaya, near South Sudan’s southern border with Uganda.

A spokesman for the US embassy told AFP that “an American citizen” had died in the clashes, which also killed 18 others.

“Yesterday we confirmed the name and we confirmed the fact that the person was killed. We are not providing any additional information about the situation,” the spokesman added.

A spokesman for South Sudan’s armed forces said Allen had not been accredited to cover the conflict by authorities in Juba and it was likely he entered the country through Uganda.

A statement from the rebel SPLA-IO forces condemned the fighting that killed Allen as a “monstrous and unnatural act (that) violates international humanitarian law which entitles journalists to all rights and protection during armed conflicts.”

Allen had worked for several outlets including Al Jazeera and Vice News and previously covered the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

South Sudan’s civil war erupted in December 2013 just two years after it obtained independence from Sudan, when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.

Thousands of people have been killed by the violence, which plunged part of the country into famine earlier this year. Some four million have been displaced, according to UN figures.

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