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AKOBO/NAIROBI - 13 Feb 2018

South Sudan rebels ignore Kenya pilots’ strike threat, demand compensation

South Sudanese rebels have ignored Kenyan pilots' threat with strike to force the release of two colleagues who have been held hostage for more than a month after crashing their plane in a rebel-held territory in Bieh State.

Captain Frank Njoroge and his co-pilot Kennedy Shamalla are being held by South Sudan rebels in Akobo area, in Greater Jonglei State.

The rebels said they are demanding $20,000 in compensation for the family of a civilian killed in the accident on 9 January. Cows also died and houses destroyed in the incident.

The Kenyan pilots association urged all Kenya commercial and charted flights operators to suspend flights to South Sudan until their colleagues are released, saying the amount demanded by the rebels is over what would normally be offered in such circumstances.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj today, John Daniel, the rebel-appointed secretary of information in Bieh State said the family of the civilian killed and those whose cows were killed demand compensation.

“Threat with strike to force the release of the detained colleague is irrelevant. One of the civilians died in the incident and the family demands compensation,” he said.