December 30, 2016 (GANYLIEL) – A Tanzanian pilot, currently in rebel custody in war-torn South Sudan for the third day, has blamed the country’s authorities for his woes.
- The chattered plane detained by rebels (courtesy photo)
In a phone interview with Sudan Tribune on Saturday, Mohammed Nassar said he was duped to believe Ganyliel county in Unity state was under the control of government.
The Tanzanian national operated the plane is now held hostage by rebels. On board was a county commissioner.
“There is no one I can blame, rather than government that told me the area was secured and under their full control, yet we ended up in the hand of the opposition forces on landing in the area,” Nasser told Sudan Tribune over phone.
The detained pilot said he has since failed to contact the Tanzania embassy in Juba, but made contact with family members in Tanzania and colleagues in Juba via email.
John Tap Puot, the rebel-appointed commissioner in the area, says the pilot lacked proper identification documents and wondered by foreigners were being employed.
“We detained the plane and the pilot because he [Nasser] was not in possession of any document, neither passport nor a national identification card, but claimed to be a Tanzanian national,” said Puot.
He, however, said the pilot even failed to provide details of the Tanzanian embassy in Juba when asked to avail them.
The official further disclosed that both the Tanzanian national and Commissioner Peter Gatkoi Beliew were safe.
South Sudanese authorities have not yet reacted on the matter.