Two newspapers in South Sudan say the government has stopped their operations in an apparent crackdown on the independent media.

Nhial Bol, editor of the Citizen newspaper, said agents from the National Security Services on Monday ordered him to stop printing because of recently published articles urging the president to sign a peace deal with rebels.

Wazir Michael, editor of the Arabic language Al Rai, said they closed down his paper on Saturday after accusing one of his employees of traveling to Kenya to join the rebels.

Tom Rhodes of the Committee to Protect Journalists said the space for critical journalism has been shrinking in South Sudan since the outbreak of an armed rebellion.