South Sudan detains two Ugandan journalists

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South Sudan’s security services have detained two Ugandan journalists who were filming in the capital Juba, officials said on Monday.

Justin Dralaze and Hilary Ayesiga, both freelancers, were arrested by security officials on Saturday.

“They were arrested by the national security services, yes,” Cleophas Muhatana, the security attaché at the Ugandan embassy in Juba, told AFP.

“We have been in touch with the directorate of national security and they said they are still interrogating them and they will be in touch with us,” Muhatana said.

Mustafa Biong, a senior official at the South Sudanese information ministry, confirmed the arrests.

Oliver Modi, who heads the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), said relations between the security services and the media have deteriorated recently.

He said he had been allowed to meet with the two Ugandans.

He said the two had been told they would have to wait until Monday to obtain their press accreditation because the issuing office does not work on Saturdays.

Dralaze and Ayesiga started filming on Saturday regardless and were promptly arrested, Modi said.

“They accepted that it’s a mistake on their side. They look fine,” he went on.

He confirmed that the two worked for a Frequency Story News, a US based media agency covering for the East African region including South Sudan.

They were arrested together with a local journalist, Sunday David Tut working for local radio station, Liberty FM.

According to Modi, the security officials have said they will release the journalists in the next twenty four hours.

He urged foreign journalists to undergo the necessary legal procedures before starting work in South Sudan.

Three South Sudanese journalists were detained briefly last week, one in Juba and two in the northern oil-rich state of Unity.