South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar risks being listed as a terrorist after claims his troops had kidnapped two Indian oil workers in his Upper Nile stronghold.
Country’s Information minister Michael Makuei told the media in Juba that the captors were Machar loyalists and were previously demanding $1 million ransom from the government.
The two aid workers were later freed but no details of who was thought to be behind the kidnapping were given either by their company.Makuei said the abduction confirmed that Machar’s movement had become a terrorist organisation.
The minister further said that South Sudan is seeking the regional body Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which had helped broker the 2015 peace agreement to end conflict, to gazette Machar’s rebels as terrorist group.
South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013, following political dispute between president Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar resulting in killing of tens of thousands of people and displacement of more than 2 million.