BENTIU – Authorities in South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state are saying that a group of unidentified gunmen is demanding a ransom of seven millions South Sudanese Pounds after they kidnapped, at a coastal village in Jonglei state, fifteen traders heading to Unity state’s Adok Port from Juba.
Speaking to Sudans Post this morning, a senior state government official in Bentiu said the traders who left Juba over the weekend were kidnapped at Machar Nyang village along the River Nile in Jonglei state and have been taken by the kidnappers to neighboring Lakes state where the kidnappers are demanding to be approached with the ransom.
“We have got the information two days ago that the men who have guns are from Lakes state but they kidnaped the traders, fifteen of them, at a village called Machar Nyang in Jonglei state and since the family spoke to the criminals, they have been taken to Jonglei state and they are now demanding that people go there with the money to free them,” the official who requested not to be named said.
The senior government official however said the state authorities are unable to pay the kidnappers because of the ongoing economic crisis and said that they are appealing to the national and Lakes state governments to step in to help to free the kidnapped traders who he said are important to the state.
“Currently we don’t have money and what we have done is that we have contacted the government in Juba and also the authorities in Lakes state to help in freeing these traders because they are important to the economy of the state here in Bentiu and that of the country as well,” he said.
“The other thing is that if we paid the ransom, other criminals in the country will also adopt that because it will be a business. So, we don’t want that to happen because if our country becomes a safe haven for kidnapping, this will worsen the economy because no traders will deliver goods to us,” he added.
The senior state government official further said ten of the kidnapped traders are from Panyinjiar County and Leer in Southern Unity state who he said have played key roles in the recovery of economy of the state following the signing of the revitalized peace agreement by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny.