SPLM-IO Denies Holding Tanzanian Pilot

SPLM-IO Denies Holding Tanzanian Pilot


By Alex Masereka

South Sudan’s SPLM/SPLA In Opposition has trashed allegations by the country’s government that it is holding a Tanzanian pilot captive.

This denial is contained in a press statement issued by, Mabior Garang Mabior (Chairman), SPLM National Committee For Information And Public Relations Mobile Office on Monday.

“…the leadership of the SPLM/SPLA In Opposition would like to refute the negative propaganda fabricated by the Salva Kiir Administration regarding a Tanzanian Pilot, allegedly held for ransom by the SPLM/SPLA(IO) Security Personnel. The Pilot, Cpt. Mohammed Nassur Saleh, of Fly Zanzibar Ltd, in a Cessna 208B-Caravan – Registration: 5H.MZA; flew (unknowingly) into the liberated territories of South Sudan controlled by the SPLM/SPLA(IO),” the statement reads in part.

It add, “The Movement’s civil administration – the local authorities in Panyijiar County immediately alerted the top leadership of the Movement. The Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/SPLA Dr. Riek Machar Teny-dhuorgon then ordered for the release of the said pilot (days ago); however, none of the NGO’s wanted to associate themselves with the pilot. The Movement has since decided to release both the pilot and the plane on humanitarian grounds and the Pilot has since safely left our liberated territories back to Juba (today).”

Meanwhile, Dar es Salaam says it is keenly following up on reports that a pilot said to be a Tanzanian national is being detained by South Sudanese rebels.

“The government is aware of the report and is working to get to the bottom of the issue,” Mindi Kasiga, the Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation ministry’s spokesperson said on Monday.

In his statement, Mabior said, “The Movement’s civil administration – the local authorities in Panyijiar County immediately alerted the top leadership of the Movement. The Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/SPLA Dr. Riek Machar Teny-dhuorgon then ordered for the release of the said pilot (days ago); however, none of the NGO’s wanted to associate themselves with the pilot. The Movement has since decided to release both the pilot and the plane on humanitarian grounds and the Pilot has since safely left our liberated territories back to Juba (today). ”

“The SPLM/SPLA(IO) is a mass popular movement with civil administration in its liberated territories and the entire Movement commends the leadership shown by the Commissioner of Panyijiar Brig. General John Tap Puot and his entire Staff, Officers, NCO’s and Men, who reacted quickly to resolve the situation.”