26th September 2020
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Vigil for slain journalist Christopher Allen

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2019

US Journalist Christopher Allen is seen with SPLA-IO forces at the border with Uganda before the fateful attack on Kaya town, where he was killed in Yei River State | File photo

Slain American journalist Christopher Allen was honored on Wednesday outside the South Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. by his parents and supporters on the second anniversary of his death.

Allen was killed in South Sudan on August 26, 2017, while he was covering the clashes between opposition and government troops in the town of Kaya.

Two years after the killing, synchronized events took place in the U.S. and the U.K., aiming to call for justice, as well as to celebrate the life and work of Allen who died at the age of 26.

The parents of Allen, John Allen and Joyce Krajian, showed up in front of the South Sudanese embassy in D.C., along with a crowd, while his cousin Jeremy Bliss was outside the country’s embassy in London.

Since his death, the circumstances surrounding what happened has remained unclear.

Lawyers representing his family are urging South Sudan’s government to investigate the incident as a potential war crime.

“Christopher was in South Sudan to tell stories of those people who did not have voices, now we must do so for his story, as well,” said Allen’s mother Joyce Krajian during the vigil in D.C. that, and I quote:

The parents, supported by several non-governmental organizations working to protect journalists and freedom of the press, such as Committee to Protect Journalists or CPJ, Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International, have been calling on the American and the British governments, to ensure that the investigation will continue.

During the vigil, Allen’s parents shared with journalists and activists what their son, his friends and colleagues, wrote before and after his death.

Before going to South Sudan, Allen covered the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region, reporting on the separatist uprising, being one of the first reporters at the scene when the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by Russian separatists over the country.

In August 2017, Allen also became the first Western journalist to die in the conflict.

He was embedded with the SPLM-IO.

Throughout his risky experience, according to his family, he spent weeks with the armed group in order to understand the conflict, their structure in the bush; and explain with his writing the complex war that was going on in South Sudan.

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