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South Sudanese towns suffer information vacuum

A South Sudanese government soldier and a woman carrying a container pass each other in the street in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan, 21 January 2014.
A South Sudanese government soldier and a woman carrying a container pass each other in the street in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan, 21 January 2014.

AP Photo/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

The following is a CPJ Blog post by Tom Rhodes/CPJ East Africa Representative

"This is the worst situation I ever reported since I started reporting in 2007," BBC Media Action producer Manyang David Mayar told me after he left the restive town of Bor, Jonglei State in South Sudan. Forced to walk long distances carrying his suitcase on his head to escape the fighting in Bor, Mayar drank dirty water and slept in the bush.

In mid December, fighting broke out between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those supporting the former vice-president, Riek Machar. Since then, the conflict over political control has reignited long-standing ethnic tensions, and contested towns such as Bor, Bentiu, and Malakal have become desolate shells of their former selves. The government has recently retaken all three towns and signed a ceasefire agreement with the rebels on Thursday, according to news reports. The United Nations says at least 10,000 have died in fighting across the country. Local officials estimate 2,500 have died in Bor alone, news reports said.

Read the full story on CPJ's site.

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