SSPDF rescues two abducted aid workers in Yei County

SSPDF rescues two abducted aid workers in Yei County
Yei River County Commissioner Aggrey Cyrus Kanyikwa (photo credit: courtesy)

Yei County government has said it has rescued two aid workers who were abducted in Morobo County last week.

A convoy taking relief food to the IDP camp was attacked by suspected members of the National Salvation Front (NAS) in Morobo County, 18 miles from Yei town, last week.

The attack claimed the life of a driver while two others were injured and five people abducted by the criminals. A vehicle was also burnt in the ambush.

Yei River County Commissioner Aggrey Cyrus Kanyikwa said the authorities managed to rescue two people after the intervention of the South Sudan Peoples Defense Forces (SSPDF).

“They were five but now only two were rescued, they are actually here with us, and three [are] still with the kidnappers,” Kanyikwa disclosed.

According to him, the two abductees were freed after army officers pursued the criminals about six miles from the scene of the ambush.

The commissioner condemned the incident saying it was an unacceptable behavior that should never be condoned.

Mr. Kanyikwa said for South Sudanese to put the country back on track, there was a need for reconciliation and coexistence.

“[We can put this county on track] if we forgive each other and reconcile with the past and start building a new future. The new hope is in peace and the peace is stipulated in R-ARCSS and all of us are part of that,” he said.

Last week, SSPDF Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang accused forces of Gen. Thomas Cirilo of attacking aid workers on Yei-Morobo counties.

Maj. Gen. Lul condemned the attack and urged the international and regional bodies to intervene in the matter saying the situation was negatively affecting the national and regional security within the Horn of Africa and beyond.

 “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.

“SSPDF general headquarters condemns NAS’ continuous attacks on the non-military target.”

Earlier this month, President Salva Kiir warned of the possibility of pulling out of the Rome peace talks after the tragic attack along Juba-Nimule road which left five people, among them two nuns dead. He blamed the holdout groups for perpetrating the attack.

“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.

But 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 September 2, the Secretary-General of the Community of Sant’Egidio Paolo Impagliazzo promised to meet President Salva Kiir to discuss the way forward.