South Sudan rebels demand ransom for abducted Ugandans

Monday October 24 2016

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura said two task teams have been set up to trace for the missing Ugandans with immediate effect. File photo 

By Agencies

A suspected rebel group has asked for ransom to release Ugandans captured during ambushes along the Nimule - Juba road, Gen Makur Maruol, the Inspector General of the South Sudan National Police services has said.

Until end of August, a total of 41 known Ugandans had been reported captured by a rebel group believed to be loyal to the former First Vice President Riek Machar. They were picked from Kampala bound buses and along border districts.

These include 23 who were abducted along the Nimule-Juba Highway in May and eight timber dealers who were abducted in July, from Lubone Sub County, Magwi County; five kilometres out of Lamwo District in Northern Uganda.

While the eight were later released after a ransom of Shs3 million was paid for each person by relatives, another four businessmen were captured during the same month. The businessmen who are still missing were captured by suspected militias in Pajok Trading Centre, Magwii County in Eastern Equatoria State of South Sudan.

Out of those abducted in May, seven escaped and were found by South Sudan Police while another six were abducted in the month of August. Records by the South Sudan Police indicate that up to 26 Ugandans are still held in the rebel group.

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Gen Maruol said that despite intelligence information that the relatives of the victims are receiving calls for ransom, only two have since provided information on the same. South Sudan police now wants Uganda police to help link them to relatives of all the victims so they can help track the kidnappers.

He was speaking during a meeting between the police chiefs from both countries held at Serena Kampala Hotel over the weekend.

Two task teams have now been set up to track down the abductees as well as ensure safety of all other Ugandans using the highways from Uganda borders to Juba.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura said these task teams comprised of both Ugandan and South Sudanese police officers will begin tracing for the missing Ugandans with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, the South Sudan National Police has asked Uganda Police to hand over supporters of former Vice President Riek Machar suspected to be rebels.

The supporters who are believed to have entered the country as refugees in the last two years were labeled rebels by the South Sudan National Police Services.

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