March 15, 2018 | COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW with THE INVESTIGATIVE FUND
On August 26 2017, Christopher Allen became the first foreign journalist killed while covering South Sudan's civil war. I investigate what happened, and if anything could have been done to prevent his death.
While South Sudan's population suffered from civil war and a worsening economic crisis, the country's ruling elites embezzled the bulk of $1bn in foreign reserves intended for the importation of food and medicine in what became one of the biggest corruption scandals to rock the world's youngest nation.
In August, fellow reporter Jason Patinkin and I crossed on foot from northern Uganda into rebel-held South Sudan. Over the course of four days, we walked more than 40 miles through the bush, escorted by rebel soldiers, to shed light on one of the world’s most underreported conflicts.
Across Equatoria, villages are being swept up in violence as government and rebel forces vie for control, spelling destruction for once idyllic farming communities and signifying something deeper: Neither side is anywhere near securing a decisive military victory.
Limited food and dwindling livestock has become a way of life for many Ethiopians since drought struck. The government says its countermeasures are working, yet its confidence is belied by the hardship facing farmers
South Sudan's conflict, now entering its third year, is having a deadly effect on press freedom. Journalists have been murdered and detained. Now that a peace deal has been signed, many hope for change.
The onset of the rainy season has further exacerbated the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The UN warns that up to four million people are at risk of food insecurity. Young children are particularly affected.