March 21, 2017 (PAGAK) - Another foreign oil worker have been captured by South Sudanese rebels in northern Upper Nile state, nearly a month after earlier warnings and threats against both local and international oil explorers in the war-torn nation.
- South Sudanese soldiers guard an oil refining facility (AFP)
The captive is a Pakistani national who was captured as the rebels and pro-government forces engaged in another fighting in Adar north of the oil-rich Upper Nile State.
Rebel spokesperson, Col. William Gatjiath Deng said the fighting erupted last Sunday, March 19, 2017, and he accused the Sudan People Liberation Army of starting an all-out of war in areas with oil productions both in Unity and the Upper Nile States.
On Monday, the South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei Luether, said four oil workers had been abducted including a Pakistani national, adding that all of them are part of the DAR Petroleum Operating Company staff.
However, Col. Gatjiath claims the last weekend battle left 15 SPLA dead. He says their forces have repulsed the allied forces of Mathiang Anyor and government loyalist.
“During the intense fighting that lasted for some two hours, the gallant SPLA-IO forces managed to fight back and repulse the Juba regime’s aggression, killing fifteen of them on spot, and two SPLA-IO fatalities,” said Deng.
“While running for their dear lives and retreating in total disarray into the bushes of Adar, the defeated and visibly exhausted Mathiang Anyor government forces abandoned one Pakistani oil worker namely Ayaz Hussein Jamali whom we captured alive and have since relocated to our Pagak," he added.
He says a similar attack occurred in Lapapam and Lalob in the northern Unity state between the SPLA-IO and the government forces.
He claims eight pro-government forces have perished in the attack, leaving behind military trucks loaded with goods seized in good condition.
“No doubt, the continuous provocation and aggression by the brutal and ruthless Juba regime against the SPLA-IO positions and bases once again send a clear message to the people of South Sudan, the region, the United Nations and indeed the international community that the Jieng Council of Elders regime in Juba means war by the true meaning of the word”.
However, the rebels have warned international and national oil workers to avoid operating on the oil facilities. He says should the oil workers fail to comply with their advice and order, it would mean risking individual life.
"The SPLA-IO would like to one more time remind all national and international oil workers to immediately leave and evacuate from all the oil fields in South Sudan, since the brutal and ruthless JCE regime in Juba is using billions of US dollars generated from the oil production and sale for purchasing more lethal arms; prolonging this war; intimidating and killing non-Dinka South Sudanese; burning, destroying and erasing non-Dinka homes and villages,” stressed Deng.
Recently, two Indian oil workers were captured in a similar way after the rebels accused them of collaborating with the government as they prepare to attack the armed opposition positions in order for them to drill more oil wells.