South Sudanese rebels said on Monday they had kidnapped four oil workers including a Pakistani national, in a bid to force their Chinese and Malaysian consortium to leave the country.
The fighters loyal to former vice president Riek Machar said they had seized the four working for DAR Petroleum Operating Company from Upper Nile State on Saturday – the second group of oil workers abducted this month.
There was no immediate comment from DAR, a consortium including China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China’s Sinopec and Malaysia’s Petronas.
South Sudan’s government said it was using “diplomatic channels” to negotiate the workers’ release and accused the rebels of demanding a ransom.
Rebel spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel dismissed that allegation.
The kidnapping came just over two weeks after two Indian employees of South Sudan’s petroleum ministry were seized in northeast Maiwut county.