According to officials in South Sudan, eight local aid workers employed by Samaritan’s Purse, an American charity, were abducted over the weekend. The SPLA-IO rebels deny the aid workers were abducted and made reference to recent clashes in the area. It is not entirely clear what has happened.

Update: Quick Read: 8 kidnapped Samaritan’s Purse workers have been released in South Sudan

From Reuters

South Sudan rebels kidnap eight local aid workers – military

South Sudanese rebels have kidnapped eight locals working for a U.S. charity and are demanding aid deliveries as ransom, a military spokesman said on Monday, as food in the famine-hit nation looks increasingly likely to become a weapon of war.

The aid workers were taken from a village near Mayendit, about 420 miles (680 km) northeast of the capital of Juba, Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang told Reuters.

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From Al Jazeera

Aid workers kidnapped in famine-hit South Sudan

The circumstances of the kidnappings were unclear.

“The rebels attacked and abducted eight local staff from Samaritan’s Purse and they are being held to ransom,” Brigadier-General Lul Ruai Koang told Reuters news agency.

However, the rebels dismissed as “propaganda” the military’s claim of a kidnapping, The Associated Press reported.

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From Radio Tamazuj

SPLA-IO rebels deny kidnapping six local aid workers in Mayendit

In a statement seen by Radio Tamazuj yesterday, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, the SPLA-IO deputy military spokesman, said the government forces attacked their positions in Mayendit, but they were repulsed on Monday.

“This clash forced civilians to run in disarray for fear of their lives. Therefore, six local aid workers working for Samaritan’s Purse including other civilians were safely recovered by our gallant forces,” he said.

The rebel spokesman pointed out that the six aid workers are local staffs with their families in Mayendit County, denying accusations that they are being held by their forces in their area.

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