South Sudan government has urged the regional states to consider rebel leader Riek Machar as a terrorist following the kidnapping of two Indian aid workers in his Upper Nile stronghold.
Information minister Michael Makuei told the media in Juba that the captors were Dr Machar loyalists and were demanding $1 million ransom from the government.
"The rebels are demanding a ransom of $1 million for their release," said Mr Makuei.
Mr Ambrose Edward and Mr Midhum Ganesh were kidnapped last Wednesday at 11am (local time) from Adhar oilfield, while they were on duty.
Mr Makuei said the abduction confirmed that Dr Machar's movement had become a terrorist organisation. He asked the rebels to ensure the safety and unconditional release of the pair as soon as possible.
The Indian embassy in Juba was putting pressure on Juba to ensure a safe release of its nationals. Oil minister Ezekiel Gatkuoth Lol said he had held a meeting with the Indian ambassador to South Sudan on the matter.
He said the government was doing its best to save the lives of the kidnapped aid workers. The South Sudan government has beefed up security in the oilfields following the kidnapping. The South Sudan political climate remains tense, especially after the formation of a new rebel faction commanded by former army deputy Chief General Thomas Cirilo.