Six journalists have been arrested in South Sudan for circulating footage showing President Salva Kiir urinating in his pants at an official event, the national journalists’ union said on Saturday.
Footage from December showed the 71-year-old president’s gray trousers taking on a different color as he stood stoically for the national anthem at a road dedication event. The video was never broadcast on television, but circulated on social media.
The journalists, who work with the state-run South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation, were arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Patrick Oyet, president of the South Sudan Journalists Union.
They “are suspected of having knowledge of how the video of the president urinating was spread,” he said.
South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei and National Security Service spokesman David Kumuri did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Kiir has been president since South Sudan gained independence in 2011. Government officials have repeatedly denied rumors circulating on social media that he is unwell. The country has been embroiled in conflict for most of the past decade.
The arrested journalists are camera operators Joseph Oliver and Mustafa Osman; video editor, Victor Lado; contributor Jacob Benjamin; and Cherbek Ruben and Joval Toombe from the control room, Oyet said.