October 24, 2016 (KAMPALA) - A South Sudanese-based rebel group has demanded that ransom be paid before they can release Ugandans they captured in ambushes along the Nimule-Juba road.
- General view of Juba Nimule road leading to Nimule Park and neighbouring Uganda (Pinterest photo)
South Sudan Police chief, Gen Makur Maruol, said relatives of those abducted were being contacted by the rebel group to demand for money.
“I have learnt that some of the relatives are receiving calls from [the abductors demanding] for a ransom. We’ll make all the available means to secure the release of the two. It is a joint venture,” Maruol told reporters in Kampala on Saturday.
He added, “If Ugandan police has information give us the telephone numbers of those who are communicating from South Sudan so we try through our intelligence to track those people and find them”.
The South Sudanese police boss made these remarks while meeting his Ugandan counterpart, Gen. Kale Kayihura in Kampala, Uganda.
At least 40 Ugandans were reportedly captured by the rebel group allegedly allied to South Sudan’s former first vice president, Riek Machar as they travelled along the 192-km Juba-Nimule highway.
According to the South Sudanese Police boss, 23 people were abducted along the Nimule-Juba highway in May while eight other people were seized in July from Lobone sub-county, Magwi county.
Another group of Ugandans were reportedly captured by suspected militias in other parts of Eastern Equatoria State of South Sudan.
About 26 Ugandans, the police chief said, are still being held by rebels.
Meanwhile, two task teams, from both countries, have now been put in place to track down the abductees as well as ensure safety of all passengers using the major highway linking Uganda to South Sudan.
Renewed violence, which broke out in the South Sudan, in July killed hundreds and displaced millions of people, aid agencies have said.