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UN Worker 'Kidnapped' in South Sudan, Official Says

Upper Nile, South Sudan

A South Sudanese national who works for the United Nations was "kidnapped" Thursday in Malakal by men in uniform, the head of an association that represents locals who work with the United Nations said.

Bennett Kenyi, president of the UNMISS National Staff Association, told South Sudan in Focus that the worker was waiting at Malakal airport for a U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) flight to Juba when he was taken away by men in uniform.

"They just grabbed him from the line and took him away in a car," Kenyi said.

The U.N. is helping in the effort to find where the worker was taken, he said.

Kenyi said some witnesses claim the men who snatched the worker were "national intelligence security agents" while others said they were members of a pro-government militia.

Kenyi said he has written to the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, "raising a complaint about the ... staff who has been kidnapped at the airport."

Upper Nile Minister of Information, Peter Hoth Kwach, said the state has launched an investigation into the U.N. worker's disappearance.

"The government as well as U.N. agencies and UNMISS are working hand in hand to make sure that this situation is contained," Kwach said.

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    John Tanza

    John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the  South Sudan In Focus radio program.
    Before joining VOA, John worked in Nairobi, Kenya where he established the first independent radio station (Sudan Radio Service) for the people of Sudan. He has covered several civil wars both in Sudan and South Sudan and has been engaged in the production of civic education materials for creating awareness about post conflict issues facing Sudanese and South Sudanese. John has interviewed South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga, leader of Sudan’s Umma Party Sadiq Al Mahdi in addition to other senior United Nations and U.S government officials in South Sudan and Washington. His travels have taken him across to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, DRC Congo and parts East Africa where he reported on the South Sudanese diaspora and the challenges facing them.
    A South Sudanese national, John enjoys listening to music from all over the world, reads academic books, watches documentaries and listens to various radio stations on the internet.  You can follow John on Twitter at @Abusukon

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