US journalist killed in South Sudan, State Department confirms

Christopher Allen, a freelance journalist covering the civil war in South Sudan, was killed on August 27 during a battle between rebels and government troops.

Story highlights

  • An American journalist dies in an area where South Sudanese troops and rebels were fighting
  • Christopher Allen worked for "various news outlets," according to South Sudan's state broadcaster

(CNN)A US journalist has been killed in South Sudan.

The State Department confirmed that Christopher Allen was killed in the East African nation on Saturday.
    "We can confirm that U.S. citizen Christopher Allen died in South Sudan on August 26, 2017 while working as a journalist. We express our condolences to Mr. Allen's family," it said in a statement. "The Embassy stands ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect for Mr. Allen's family, we have no further comment at this time."
    According to South Sudan's state broadcaster, Allen was one of 19 people killed during fighting between government troops and rebels in Yei River state.
    "Christopher Allen, who worked for various news outlets, was killed in heavy fighting in the town of Kaya," South Sudan Broadcast Corporation said, citing rebels and military officials.

    Descent into civil war

    South Sudan gained independence in 2011 after 98% of the population voted to break away from Sudan.
    The youngest country in the world quickly fell into civil war that took on ethnic undertones.
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    In December 2013, soldiers from President Salva Kiir's Dinka ethnic group tried to disarm Nuer soldiers perceived to be loyal to then-ousted Vice President Riek Machar, sparking fighting and inflaming ethnic tensions in South Sudan.
    Kiir is a member of the country's majority Dinka population, while Machar is Nuer, the country's second-largest ethnic group.
    Earlier this month, the United Nations estimated that the conflict had left 1.89 million people internally displaced, while another 1.97 million were refugees in neighboring countries.
    It categorized 6 million people as being "severely food insecure."