South Sudanese rebels release 18 UN peacekeepers

2015-10-30 14:32

Juba (dpa) - South Sudanese rebels have released 18 United Nations peacekeepers who were on board two barges that were seized on the river Nile, a UN spokeswoman said Friday.

The 18 were released on Thursday, said Ariane Quentier, a spokesperson for the UN mission in South Sudan. She declined to reveal their nationalities.

The rebels are still holding 12 South Sudanese crew members, according to Quentier.

"We are working on the situation," rebel spokesman Dickson Gatluak said.

The rebels stopped the barges as they were travelling from Juba to Upper Nile State because they were carrying flags that "look confusing" rebel spokesperson William Gatjiat said earlier.

A power struggle between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar turned violent mid-December 2013.

The conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives, and displaced two million people.

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