The deceased journalist, Marko Agei Makor Chol. (Courtesy photo)

Warrap State launches investigation into 2020 death of Door FM Journalist

The Director General in the Warrap State Ministry of Information, John Lal Chol, has disclosed that the state governor has formed a five-member committee to investigate the killing of a local Journalist, Marko Agei Makor Chol, in the now defunct Tonj State in July 2020.

The Director General in the Warrap State Ministry of Information, John Lal Chol, has disclosed that the state governor has formed a five-member committee to investigate the killing of a local Journalist, Marko Agei Makor Chol, in the now defunct Tonj State in July 2020.

Agei who was working for Door FM, a church-based radio in Tonj, was killed on 1 July 2020 by unknown assailants while returning to his duty station from his village of Mayang-ngok.

According to Lal, the investigation committee is comprised of the state’s Director of National Security, a member of the Union of Journalists in Warrap State, and the head of the state’s Human Rights Commission among others.

“On 30 May 2020, a journalist called Marko Agei Makur Chuol was killed in the defunct Tonj State. Governor Col. Kuol Muor Muor has formed a committee comprised of five people chaired by the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission in Warrap State, Albino Adhar Deng, and deputized by John Lal Deng, who is the Director General of the ministry as the person concerned to investigate the matter,” he said. “Also, the chairperson of the Union of Journalists in Warrap State, Daniel Mareng Wek, is the secretary of the committee. The Director of National Security is a member and the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Tonj South County are members of the committee.”

“The committee is to work for 30 days and shall file their report and submit it to the governor,” he added.

Lal called on the family of the journalist and the entire community of Warrap State to remain calm as the committee does its work.

“My message is people should wait till the result is out and this is to tell the public that the government of South Sudan and the Government of Warrap State in particular, is concerned about the lives of journalists and that this investigation aims at protecting journalists,” he said.  

At least 12 journalists have been killed in South Sudan since 2012 and the murders remain unresolved including the five journalists killed in 2015 along Wau- Raja road.

South Sudan is suppressing journalists and rights activists by intimidation, surveillance, and data harvesting, according to a recent report from the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. The report also warned that the clampdown on freedoms could hamper the country’s ability to conduct credible elections in 2024.

The 57-page report, released in October, includes accounts of nearly 100 state-sponsored human rights violations including intimidation, harassment, violence, arbitrary detentions and torture, as well as sexual violence against female reporters.

The Commission said the reports were corroborated by its independent investigations.