South Sudan‘s armed opposition says it has abducted two Indian oil engineers and accused them of working with the government.
The South Sudan News Agency quoted the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) spokesman Col William Gatjiath Deng as saying that the captured Indian engineers, identified as Ambross Edward and Muggy Vijaya Boopathy, work for South Sudanese government and refused to respect repeated warnings from the military command of the armed opposition.
Gatjiath said the duo were kidnapped in and around a new oil field located in Guelguk North in Upper Nile after a fierce fighting between rebel and government forces. The armed opposition spokesman stated that Edward and Boopathy were captured after rebel forces under the command of Major General Khor Chuol Giet and Brigadier General Gatbel Kuach “disintegrated, defeated, and killed” at least 33 government soldiers. Col Deng also proclaimed the SPLA-IO defeated and inflicted heavy losses on government troops and Sudanese allies namely Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and SPLM-North.
It was not clear when the abduction in oil-rich Upper Nile state occurred. The East African country has been devastated by three years of civil war, and its oil industry is a key source of income. A senior government official told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) in January that India and South Sudan secretly resumed oil talks and that discussions began in November last year.
Opposition spokesman William Gatjiath Deng said on Saturday the two Indian nationals would be held until a decision is made by opposition leader Riek Machar, who is in exile in South Africa. The Indian embassy in South Sudan had no immediate comment.
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