April 18, 2017 (KINSHASA) – 16 United Nation staff members, initially taken hostage by unarmed South Sudanese refugees at a camp in eastern Congo (DRC) have been released unarmed.
- A civilian talks to peacekeepers serving in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Kinshasa, April 10, 2017 (UN)
The U.N, in a statement issued Tuesday, said South Sudanese refugees took 13 of its staff members hostage and demanded that they be relocated to another country to avoid their forced return to South Sudan.
"All staff have returned safely to their homes," noted the statement.
"No casualties have been reported. The mission is investigating the incident,” it added.
According to the U.N, the South Sudanese refugees are among a group of 530 who had fled the country last year and have been staying at the U.N. camp in Munigi, north of the provincial capital Goma.
The majority of those who fled were part of the armed opposition faction loyal to South Sudan rebel leader, Riek Machar, who fled the country when clashed occurred with pro-government forces in Juba last year.
The former SPLA-IO fighters want to be transported to Uganda, Kenya or Ethiopia but the three countries declined to receive them.
Civil war broke out in South Sudan in December 2013 when forces allied to President Salva Kiir clashed with those loyal to his former deputy, Machar. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in South Sudan’s worst violence since it attained independence from Sudan.