New York, June 1, 2023—The Sudanese Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group must immediately release journalist Nader Shulkawi, and all parties to the conflict in the country must stop harassing members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.
On Tuesday, May 30, RSF soldiers detained Shulkawi in the city of Omdurman, northwest of the capital of Khartoum, according to a statement by the Sudanese Journalists Syndicate trade union and a local journalist familiar with the case who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.
The soldiers detained Shulkawi at a checkpoint after he identified himself as a journalist, that person told CPJ. Shulkawi works as a correspondent for multiple channels operated by the state-run Sudan National Broadcasting Corporation.
He remained in an RSF detention camp as of Thursday, June 1, according to those sources.
“By detaining journalists covering the historic events taking place in Sudan, the Rapid Support Forces are showing their desperation to control the media narrative and prevent news from reaching people in the country and abroad,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “The RSF must immediately release journalist Nader Shulkawi, and all parties to the conflict must ensure that journalists can work without fear of being detained.”
At least 700 civilians have been killed since fighting started in April between the RSF and the Sudanese Armed Forces, in part due to tensions over the Sudanese army’s attempted integration of the RSF. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced, and many journalists covering the fighting have been arrested, assaulted, shot, beaten, and robbed.
In clips of Shulkawi’s reporting uploaded to YouTube before the conflict broke out, the journalist can be seen covering topics including a governor’s visit to public service facilities and Sudan’s celebration of World Tourism Day.
CPJ emailed the Sudanese Armed Forces and the RSF for comment but did not receive any replies.