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MFA working to bring Kenyan pilots held in S.Sudan home: official

The pilots are being held on account of a person and animals the rebels claim were killed when the plane came down/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – The government working to secure the release of the two Kenyan pilots being held in South Sudan after a plane crashed in the rebel-controlled territory Upper Nile state.

Foreign Affairs Communication Manager Edwin Limo says the abductors are demanding a fine after the plane crash killed one person on the ground and a few animals.

Limo says the owners of the plane say that the Sh20 million fine is too much for them.

The abductors who are believed to be under the control of Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) allied to exiled former Vice President, Riek Machar remain adamant that Captain Frank Njoroge and co-pilot Kennedy Shamalla would not be released unless the fine is paid.

“We will give further details on this incident as from tomorrow when we get a clearer picture (Monday),” he told Capital News.

Njoroge and Shamalla were abducted and put under tight security on the outskirts of Akobo town near the Ethiopian border immediately after the crash.

They were flying a plane that was hired by a Juba-based non-governmental organisation to ferry its staff to the Upper Nile state when the crash occurred.

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