2 abducted, vehicle torched as NAS forces ambush WFP convoy
At least two humanitarian workers from World Food Programme have been abducted, a driver killed, and a vehicle set on fire after forces allied to the National Salvation Front (NAS) ambushed a convoy belonging to the United Nations agency.
South Sudan People’s Defense Forces Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang confirmed the incident to The City Review Friday evening.
“The attack on the convoy resulted in one of the drivers getting killed, two others were abducted and another person sustained injuries after the vehicles on the road overturned in the confusion of the incident,” Lul said.
The Spokesperson said the attack occurred Friday morning along the Yei – Morobo Road.
Maj. Gen. Lul condemned the attack and urged the international and regional bodies to designate NAS as a negative force threatening national and regional security within the Horn of Africa and beyond.
WFP, according to the army spokesman, did not request military assistance from the SSPDF base in Yei.
“It is very important to point out that the leadership of WFP did not request for a military escort from SSPDF command in Yei River County of Central Equatoria state,” he said.
He added, “SSPDF general headquarters condemns NAS’ continuous attacks on the non-military target.
Earlier this month, President Salva Kiir pulled out of the Rome Peace Talks with the holdout group after an attack along Nimule – Juba Road left five people dead, including two nuns.
“Now that SSOMA, specifically the National Salvation Front (NAS) elements continue to violate these commitments, we have decided to pause the ongoing Sant’Egidio led Rome Peace Initiative. Our pursuit of an inclusive peace should never be taken for weakness and used as a window to kill the innocent,” Kiir said in a statement.
In a counter-statement, SSOMA, a political umbrella under which NAS falls, dismissed the statement by Kiir and alleged that it was instead government forces attacking travelers along the Juba – Nimule Highway.
On 2nd September, the Secretary-General of the Community of Sant’Egidio Paolo Impagliazzo has promised to meet President Salva Kiir to discuss the way forward.
The attack on the WFP convoy could push the government further out of the negotiation table with the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA).