JUBA – UN World Food Programme (WFP) officials said on Wednesday in Juba, that a
South Sudanese civil servant and two other people travelling from a government-controlled area aboard its helicopter were detained on Tuesday after their aircraft landed in a rebel-controlled area.
The WFP spokeswoman in a statement said the helicopter was carrying Isaiah Chol, Chairman of the Statistics and Census Commission, and two other passengers.
She said they were meant to fly from one government-controlled area to another in the Jonglei region but landed instead in a rebel-held region.
She said the agency has “received indications that they are well and unhurt, and have been assured that we would be able to pick them up soon.
Tensions in South Sudan are high as President Salva Kiir and rebel commander Riek Machar seek to finalise a deal to end a conflict that has ravaged the oil-producing state since it erupted in December 2013.
Barnaba Benjamin, South Sudanese Foreign Minister said the two other South Sudanese men worked for a non-governmental organisation.
He said the South Sudanese government was working with the UN to ensure the three were promptly released.
Meanwhile, Col. Philip Aguer, South Sudanese Army SPLA Spokesman, said the office of President and UN has promised that the rebels have accepted to release the three officials.
Rebel officials are yet to comment on the case. (Reuters/NAN)