10 November 2012

South Sudan: Aid Worker Kidnapped and Killed in Jonglei

Bor — A South Sudanese man working for the Plan International aid organisation in Jonglei State has been kidnapped and killed by rebels in Pibor County.

The Commissioner of Pibor County, Joshua Konyi Irer, that the aid worker, Peter Milan, was taken from his house in Gumuruk Payam [district] in front of his family on 2 November by armed men suspected to be fighting for a rebel group in the area led by David Yauyau. His wife and children were not harmed in the attack.

Commissioner Konyi said that the group that took Milan were led by Lan Naiyo, a member of the Murle tribe who joined the rebels in August this year. The rebels took Milan across the river to Thiangnyang, a village to the east of Gumuruk town, he explained.

The rebels then waited in Thiangnyang, for two days in order for Milan's relatives to come and negotiate his release, according to the commissioner. The Gumuruk community brought the rebels 25 cows in the hope that the offer would secure his release.

The rebels, the Commissioner said, accepted the cows and promised they would return Milan the next day. However, they reneged and killed Milan and left the area taking the cattle.

Commissioner Konyi said that Milan was a retired soldier who had thought with South Sudan's army (SPLA) while they were a rebel group themselves, fighting the Sudanese government.

During the civil war, which after a 2005 peace deal led to South Sudan's independence last year, Milan was trained in mining and de-mining by the SPLA. It was this expertise that led to his kidnap, as the rebels wanted him to join them, the Commissioner said. It is assumed that after Milan refused to defect, the rebels decided to kill him.

Konyi, described David Yau Yau as an enemy to all South Sudanese and the people of Jonglei in particular as his militia are "killing people and, looting civilians". He pledged that Yau Yau would not last beyond February 2013.

Yau Yau defected against the government of South Sudan for the second time earlier this year. After he asked for a sick leave to travel to Nairobi, Kenya, South Sudan say he traveled to Khartoum to seek support to restart his rebellion, which he initially launched after elections in 2010.

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