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S. Sudan Journalist Killed Days After Threat From President


Relatives and onlookers watch as the body of South Sudanese journalist Peter Moi is taken into a mortuary in Juba, South Sudan, Aug. 20, 2015.

A South Sudanese journalist has been shot dead, three days after President Salva Kiir threatened to kill reporters who, in his words "work against the country."

Unidentified gunmen killed Peter Moi of The New Nation newspaper late Wednesday near the paper's offices in Juba. Colleagues say it appeared to be a targeted attack, as the attackers did not take Moi's money or cell phone.

There was no immediate comment from police or the government.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Kiir by telephone to discuss the incident. The State Department called on Juba to "expeditiously and thoroughly investigate this incident."

Moi is the seventh journalist to be killed in South Sudan this year.

On Sunday, President Kiir told reporters in Juba that, "If anybody among you does not know that this country has killed people, we will demonstrate it one day, one time... Freedom of the press does not mean you work against the country."

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which reported the comments, local journalists believe the president's remarks stemmed from criticism of alleged government corruption and the slow pace of peace talks with rebels.

The CPJ has called on Kiir to retract his comments.

Kiir is under pressure to sign a proposed peace deal to end South Sudan's 20-month civil war. He refused to sign the deal during a trip to Addis Ababa this week, saying on Twitter that the deal could not be sustained.

The war has killed thousands of South Sudanese and displaced more than 2.2 million people, including more than 700,000 to nearby countries.