JUBA: South Sudanese rebels have kidnapped four oil workers including a Pakistani engineer, in a bid to force their Chinese and Malaysian consortium to leave the country.
The 26-year-old engineer, Ayaz Hussain Jamali from Badin Sindh was kidnapped on Sunday in Paloch Upper Nile State South Sudan. The fighters loyal to former vice president Riek Machar said they had seized the four working for DAR Petroleum Operating Company from Upper Nile State on Saturday – the second group of oil workers abducted this month.
There was no immediate comment from DAR, a consortium including China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China´s Sinopec and Malaysia´s Petronas. South Sudan, which split away from Sudan in 2011 after decades of conflict, has been mired in civil war since President Salva Kiir sacked Machar in 2013. The fighting has forced 3 million people to flee their homes, split much of the population along ethnic lines and paralysed agriculture, leaving the country facing famine, according to the United Nations.
Rebel spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel said, “There are no conditions for their release, but we want to make it clear to their country of residence and the government that we do not want their company to operate in South Sudan.” He did not say why the rebels wanted the consortium to leave the area bordering Sudan and Ethiopia. The kidnapping came just over two weeks after two Indian employees of South Sudan´s petroleum ministry were seized in northeast Maiwut county.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistani Mission in Addis Ababa Ethiopia is in touch with South Sudan authorities for the release of Ayaz Hussain Jamali. He expressed these views while responding the queries of Online News Agency on the kidnapping of Jamali.
Zakaria said that Pakistan has not diplomatic relations with South Sudan and Pakistani Mission at Addis Ababa was aware of the kidnapping of Ayaz Jamali. “We are making efforts for his early recovery,” the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, brother of Jamali, Altaf Hussain told Online that his brother was kidnapped from South Sudan around 11: 30 am on Sunday. He said that his another brother Babar Hussain was also working in the same company in Ghumri city of South Sudan. He said that both the brothers had resigned from the company due to security unrest in the area and after few days they both would have to return to homeland. He demanded the government for the concrete efforts for the recovery of his brother. He also demanded from international and national human rights organizations to raise his brother’s issue on different forums for his early recovery. (Reuters/Online)