Jonglei State denies claims it pays ransom to release abductees

Jonglei State denies claims it pays ransom to release abductees
Some of the 65 children and girls who were rescued from the hands of abductors in Jonglei State. [Photo: Chol Makol]

Jonglei State has rubbished claims that it is paying ransom to the armed youth to secure the freedom of abductees kidnapped in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.

Speaking to the media over the weekend, Jonglei State Minister of Information John Manyuon dismissed the allegations, saying the state government would never pay any amount in exchange for the abductees.

He said the government is only negotiating with the youth leaders for the unconditional release of the abductees.

“These reports are fake, baseless, and circulated by the enemies of peace and progress with the intention to deter state government efforts to continue recovering the abductees,” Manyuon said.

Manyuon said the state recovered 23 extra abductees who will be soon handed over to Pibor authorities to be reunited with their family members.

“So far, we the government of Jonglei State, have recovered and handed over to the authority in Great Pibor Administration Area 68 abductees in the first phase,” Manyuon said.

He vowed that the Jonglei State government would continue with its commitment to tracing the abductees up to the county level.

“Our efforts and commitments will continue up to the county level to make sure every abductee is recovered and handed over to GPAA because abduction is a criminal offence and punishable under the South Sudan Transitional Constitution 2011 as amended,” Manyuon stressed.

He said the people of Jonglei, who comprise the Nuer, Dinka, and Anyuak communities, do not practise abduction as part of their culture, and therefore it should never be tolerated.

“We are informing the general public that allegations circulating on social media are concocted by agents of those politicians who are advancing their political interests at the expense of innocent lives,” Manyuon said.

“The government of Jonglei State didn’t pay a single cent to recover any abductee. “We managed to recover such a huge number of abductees through dialogue with the ring leaders of the abductors, who cooperated and handed over the abductees to us,” he added.

He reiterated that the government of Jonglei State will remain committed to the pursuit of peace.