Rapid Support Forces soldiers stand on their vehicle in Khartoum, Sudan, in June 2019. CPJ called on the RSF to release Abdelaziz Mahmoud Arja, a photographer with state-owned Sudan TV, after he was arrested on April 30, 2024. (Photo: AP/Hussein Malla)

CPJ calls for immediate release of Sudanese photographer Abdelaziz Mahmoud Arja

New York, May 8, 2024 — The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Sudanese paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to immediately and unconditionally release Abdelaziz Mahmoud Arja, a photographer with state-owned Sudan TV.

“We are deeply concerned by the Rapid Support Forces soldiers’ arrest of state television photographer Abdelaziz Mahmoud Arja and urge all parties in the conflict in Sudan to ensure that he is returned home safely,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martínez de la Serna. “The RSF must stop arresting and attacking journalists seeking to cover the conflict.”

The April 30 arrest was revealed in a Monday Facebook statement by the local trade union Sudanese Journalists Syndicate, which condemned Arja’s arrest and said it held the RSF responsible for the journalist’s security and safety.

RSF soldiers arrested Arja after raiding his home in Zalingei, the capital of the central Darfur state, which is controlled by the RSF. A local journalist familiar with the case told CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal, that as of Wednesday, Arja was still in an RSF detention center.

Since the beginning of the civil war between Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the RSF in April 2023, journalists have been killed, injured, harassed, arrested, and displaced.

CPJ’s emails to the SAF and RSF about Arja’s arrest received no replies.