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S Sudan ex-rebels release UN hostages in DR Congo

AFP  |  United Nations 

South Sudanese former rebels released 16 UN staff after holding them hostage for several hours in a camp in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a UN official has said.

About 530 former rebels from South Sudan are living in the Munigi camp, just outside of Goma, where they fled when fighting flared in the South Sudanese capital of Juba in July.

"We are pleased to confirm that all 16 MONUSCO staff, who were earlier being held in a camp for former combatants in Munigi, have been released," said a UN official yesterday.

The 16 staff worked for the UN mission, known as MONUSCO, but there were no details about their nationalities.

"The camp is quiet and under full control of MONUSCO. All staff have returned safely to their homes," said the official.

The official added that there were no casualties from the incident and that the mission had opened an investigation.

The combatants, who were disarmed when they entered the camp, have for months demanded to be relocated, but UN officials have been unable to find countries willing to take them in.

Rebel leader Riek Machar remains in and has been prevented from returning to South Sudan.

After gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan descended into war in December 2013, leaving tens of thousands dead and 3.5 million people displaced.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 19 2017. 04:48 IST