South Sudan rebels release 7 aid workers

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April 15, 2018 (JUBA) – The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) announced the release of seven aid workers upon directives from the group leader Riek Machar.

Recently the U.N. urged the SPLM-IO to release seven aid workers with the South Sudan Health Association (SSUHA) saying they were abducted on 25 March while delivering health supplies in Morobo county in Central Equatoria.

In a statement released on Sunday, Lam Paul Gabriel, the SPLM-IO deputy spokesperson said the release took place along the border with Uganda and in presence of security officials from the neighbouring country.

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“This morning the 15/04/2018 at about 11:30 AM, the SPLA IO command of Div. 2B and the administration of Yei River State safely released seven (7) Aids workers with three vehicles to a delegation of the UNOCHA along the Uganda border in Koboko,” said the rebel spokesperson.

He further said the handover was ordered by the SPLM-IO leader Machar who is still confined in South African but preparing to move to another country in the region, Tanzania probably.

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SECURITY ISSUES

Gabriel said they captured the aid workers after discovering two South Sudanese security agents deployed in the rebel-held areas as humanitarians without elaborating on the matter.

“The seven workers were detained due to security issues concerning two of their colleagues who were discovered to be security agents of the regime intentionally deployed to carry out hostile surveillance on our controlled areas,” he said.

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He called on the humanitarian groups to avoid “being infiltrated” by the government security agencies.

On 10 April, the United Nations announced the death of two aid workers killed in separate attacks near Bentiu town in Unity region.

(ST)

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