16 May 2018

East Africa: Gunmen Abduct Acholi Prime Minister in South Sudan

Photo: Daily Monitor
Ambrose Olaa

Gulu — Gunmen have abducted the Prime Minister of Acholi Cultural Institution, Mr Ambrose Olaa.

Mr Emmanuel Ochora Lagedo, the Deputy Prime Minister, Ker Kwaro Acholi, confirmed the development on Tuesday evening.

"Dear members, it is true that Ambrose Olaa and his colleagues are being detained by some armed groups in South Sudan. Ker Kwaro Acoli appeals for calmness as efforts are being made to ascertain their wellbeing and eventual secure release. Let us pray for their safe return. Ker Kal Acholi will provide you with information as and when it is made available," a message which Mr Lagedo shared via social media reads.

Speaking to Daily Monitor, Mr Lagedo said the gunmen also abducted eight people who were with Mr Olaa on a field trip in an unknown location in South Sudan on Tuesday.

He said that Mr Olaa has been working as a contract consultant on conflict management for the World Bank in the war-torn Africa's youngest nation.

"Mr Olaa has been occasionally contracted by the World Bank to work within East Africa. They relied on his expertise. He had been called for a short contract in South Sudan," Mr Lagedo said.

He said that unverified information indicates Mr Olaa and his colleagues are being detained in an unknown location.

"We are working closely with the South Sudan security officials to ensure the safe release of Mr Olaa and his team. Their chances of being released are quite high," Mr Lagedo said.

It is unclear whether Mr Olaa and the team were abducted by one of the rebel groups in South Sudan or government forces.

Mr Okin Ojara, the former Ker Kwaro Acholi premier, who is currently the Chua West Member of Parliament asked government to negotiate for the release of Mr Olaa and his team.

"South Sudan is a volatile country. We need the government to intervene and rescue the prime minister and his team," he said.

Mr Olaa assumed office in mid-2015 replacing Mr Okin, who resigned to focus on elective politics.

However, the Fourth Infantry Division Spokesperson, Maj Telesphor Turyamumanya said on Wednesday that they had not received any information regarding the abduction of Mr Olaa.

"I am unaware about the incident involving Mr Olaa and others reportedly abducted by suspected South Sudanese gunmen. We shall liaise with the security personnel in South Sudan to establish the truth of this matter," Maj Turyamumanya said.

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