Mixed reactions evoke as South Sudan rebels set to release top government official

By Mekonen Tefere

Addis Ababa, February 4, 2015 (SSNA) — The South Sudanese government announced on Wednesday that it has received an assurance from the rebel leadership that they would release Isaiah Chol Aruai, the chairman of the South Sudan bureau of statistics, after he was abducted off a humanitarian aircraft.

“Contacts have been made and the rebels’ leadership has given assurances that comrade Isaiah Chol and his colleagues will be released today," Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia Lomuro said Wednesday.  

In August 2014, Gabriel Yien Gach was reportedly pulled out of NPA’s vehicle and killed by some unknown groups in Maban County. Six other Nuer -UN workers were targeted in Maban County by government allied militia to Juba’s regime.

In October the same year of 2014 – Mark Diang, a United Nations worker, who works for World Food Programme was kidnapped at Malakal airport, in Upper Nile state.

Chuar Juet Jock, a south Sudanese residing in United States of America added that the movement (SPLM-IO) was forced to revolt and at the same time accepts to fight for injustice. “Indeed these people need to be investigated thoroughly, but after proper investigations, they should be released if innocent.”

Chuar Juet who is also an entrepreneur and computer scientist added that the movement fights for change not for revenge against individuals. “We can’t follow the footsteps of Kiir tribal regime…the government must tell us the Mark Diang and Gabriel Yien Gach whereabouts.” Mr. Juet elaborated. 

Another high-ranking rebel official who talked in condition of anonymity said that the detention of Isaiah Chol Aruai is a result of his wrong doing of things. “Mr. Isaiah Chol Aruai ordered the election to go ahead to legitimizes president Kiir and suspend census, this is an act of selfishness.” The rebel commander said in exclusive interview. 

Information and Broadcasting Minister Michael Makuei Lueth announced on state television that on Tuesday that the government had contacted the rebel leader Riek Machar and his chief negotiator Taban Deng Gai to inform them about the development and to ask that the officials be released on humanitarian grounds.

Peter Domach from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia said that the release of these people would account to weakness of Dr. Riek Machar. “These people pretend not to allied with government in Juba, but to me they are spying…we must arrest them until the government return Gabriel Yien Gach and Mark Diang.” Domach said sadly.

Kailech Malual from Nairobi said that Isaiah Chol and his colleagues should be kept captive until further truce. 

In a report published on Wangdunkon media on February 4, 2015, Cde. Gatdiet Peter calls upon the government of South Sudan to answer whereabouts of Mark Diang and Gabriel Yien Gach. The statement entitled: Where Is Mark Diang (WFP), Gabriel Yien Gach (NPA) and others before asking for Mr. Isaiah Chol Aruai?

Another refugee in Khartoum told the reporter that the release of Isaiah Chol Aruai and his colleagues would mean that Dr. Machar and Gen. Taban Deng Gai are acting for personal leadership not for pursuing the objectives of the movement. He added on the phone.

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