By Deng Ghai Deng
Authorities in the Jonglei state capital Bor said they had arrested at least five (5) suspectswho kept fifteen traders from Panyijaar county of Unity state hostage last month.
Speaking to Juba Monitor yesterday,Jonglei State Police CommissionerJoseph Mayen Akoon said that the five suspected pirates were detained at Bor town police station.
“We sent the force to go and rescue the situation. They were captured by the force with their guns, 3 guns plus one machine gun called RPG 7. These guns were brought here. The suspects are in the custody and are being investigated, they will be charged and taken to court,” Akoon said
Meanwhile, Yohannes Kujiek, the former commissioner of Unity state’s Panyijiar county, said that the 15 traders were traveling by river barge from Panyijiar to Juba.
Kujiek said the traders were abducted at the Machar checkpoint along the riverside in Jonglei state.
He said the abductors took all the cash the traders were carrying summing up to more than three million South Sudanese Pounds but were still demanding a ransom of seven million pounds, which is equivalent to sixteen thousand dollars.
Akoon said that police also recovered about one million and five hundred thousand South Sudanese Pounds and one thousand and one hundredUS dollars from the suspected pirates. He said the police recued the fifteen traders who were being kept hostage by the pirates.
“Our mission also recovered the money and rescued the traders. The river is a national property so anybody has the right to pass there. The people coming from Malakal, and Unity state should move freely. The people in Unity state are our people and we do not want to have problem with them. The police will continue to protect lives, and property of the people,” Akoon added
Peter Kai, one of the traders who were abducted said he was glad that they were freed.
“I am happy with the Jonglei state government for rescuing us. These people wanted to kill us if the money was not paid. But who would have paid the amount they were asking? We were in a very bad situation. It’s good for the government to keep patrolling the river because this was not the first attack, they have been lootingand even killing,” Kai said.
Simon Hoth, the Jonglei state law enforcement minister said his office was trying its best to curb the rampant abduction and looting of travellers along the Nile.
“The issue of Machar checkpoint in Duk was a problem. The criminals have been tracking boats of the travellers for example, the boat that came from Panyijaar in Unity state last month. They stopped it and asked the people to get down and remain with them. This is not good. The river doesn’t belong to criminals. We have now five of them in custody,” Hoth said.
He urged the national government in Juba to support the police Jonglei with speed boat and more ammunition to help them clear the criminals who had been causing instability off the Nile.