JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN —
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has added his voice to those condemning that attack on a United Nations' convoy in Jonglei state that killed five Indian peacekeepers and seven civilians.
In a statement released by Kiir's office Thursday, the president offered condolences to the families of those killed, the Indian government, and the United Nations, which he called a "trusted development partner, providing essential services to the people of South Sudan."
The United Nations has said the deadly attack was carried out by about 200 armed men who targeted a convoy of about 18 civilians traveling on the main road to Pibor. Around 30 U.N. peacekeepers were escorting the convoy.
U.N. peacekeeping spokesman Kieran Dwyer said earlier this week that the attack deliberately targeted the United Nations.
South Sudanese Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin has blamed the ambush on rebels led by David Yau Yau, and said forces from the South Sudanese military are working with the police to track down the perpetrators of the deadly attack.
The South Sudanese army launched an offensive in Jonglei several weeks ago to crush Yau Yau's rebellion.
The rebel group has also been blamed for a deadly cattle raid in January in which more than 100 people died, most of them women and children.