UN demands safe release of abducted staff in South Sudan

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the World Food Program (WFP) Friday strongly condemned the recent abduction of their staff at the airfield in Malakal, and demanded the safe release of those still being detained, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here.

United Nations: The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the World Food Program (WFP) Friday strongly condemned the recent abduction of their staff at the airfield in Malakal, and demanded the safe release of those still being detained, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here.

"UNMISS and WFP are actively engaging with authorities in Juba, as well as the Upper Nile State authorities, as well as the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and militia groups in Malakal, in an effort to secure the release of the two abducted individuals," Xinhua quoted Dujarric as saying at a daily news briefing here.

"There is still a lot of lack of clarity on the identity of the abductors," he said.

"The Mission urges the national and state authorities, and the SPLA militia commanders on the ground, to redouble their efforts to locate and free the abducted individuals," Dujarric added.

"In the meantime, the Mission has taken additional measures to enhance the security of its personnel and will continue to engage all relevant actors to secure their release," he noted.

On Oct 10, three Individual Contractors employed by UNMISS, who were working at the airfield in Malakal, were seized by an unidentified armed group of 15 to 20 men in uniformed and civilian clothes. They were driven away in a pick-up truck.

The following day, in the morning, one of the three workers was released and a second was also released later that afternoon. The third worker is still missing. Then Oct 16, a WFP staff member was similarly seized by a group of armed men at the same airfield while he was in the process of boarding a UN flight. The staff member is still missing.  

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