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RAJA - 18 Dec 2017

Seven aid workers abducted in Raja following attack

Seven aid workers have been abducted in northern town of Raja in South Sudan’s Lol State after attacks by gunmen Sunday morning.

 The state government accused opposition troops loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar of kidnapping the humanitarian workers.

"The rebel’s loyal to Riek Machar attacked four commercial trucks coming from Aweil near Mogayat in Raja, and at the same time there were two NGO vehicles coming from Raja," said state minister of information, Omar Isahaq, who called for the release of the humanitarian workers.

He said the abducted aid workers are from two organizations, HealthNet and Solidarity International. Isahaq, who is also the state government spokesman, said Solidarity International's country director, Mainul Islam Opu, is among the abducted aid workers.

“There are four aid workers from Solidarity International, and three aid workers from HealthNet. The rebels took the two vehicles belonging to the NGOs,” he said.

He pointed out that 13 civilians were killed when the gunmen attacked four commercial vehicles near the area of Mogayat area, adding that the four vehicles were burned to ashes.

Ayman Mohamed Ibrahim, the rebel-appointed information minister in Raja state, admitted that they have abducted 15 people during the attack. However, he claimed that the abducted people are government soldiers and Sudanese rebels.  

The United Nations has repeatedly asked South Sudan's government and rebels to better protect aid workers and let them do their jobs without restrictions.