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World

March 14, 2017

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South Sudan rebels kidnap eight local aid workers

South Sudan rebels kidnap eight local aid workers

JUBA: South Sudanese rebels have kidnapped eight locals working for a US charity and are demanding aid deliveries as ransom, a military spokesman said on Monday, as food in the famine-hit nation looks increasingly likely to become a weapon of war.

The aid workers were taken from a village near Mayendit, about 420 miles northeast of the capital of Juba, Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang told Reuters.

"The rebels attacked and abducted eight local staff from Samaritan’s Purse and they are being held to ransom. They have demanded that the organisation takes aid to them," he said. No one at the charity was available for comment.

Last week, South Sudan announced plans to charge a levy of $10,000 per foreign aid worker, which with the danger of abduction, could hurt efforts to help the hungry. Nicholas Haysom, UN Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, said: "It is ... likely to lead to an exodus of humanitarian workers in a country that is already facing a dire humanitarian situation.

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