UN Staff Released by South Sudan Refugees After Hostage Ordeal

Sixteen United Nations staffers were taken hostage by a mob of unarmed South Sudan refugees in east Congo on Tuesday before being released unharmed, the Associated Press reported. The refugees had demanded asylum in Uganda, Kenya, or Ethiopia, refusing to be returned to civil war-plagued South Sudan. The refugees have been staying at the UN camp in Munigi since last year, when they fled South Sudan. Their hostage-taking appeared to come in response to the repatriation Friday of eight South Sudan fighters loyal to the country’s opposition leader. After negotiations with the refugees that dragged into the evening, the hostages were released and “the camp is quiet and under full control,” the UN peacekeeping department said late Tuesday. “All staff have returned safely to their homes. No casualties have been reported. The mission is investigating the incident,” the UN said. A civil war erupted in South Sudan in December 2013, and despite a peace deal in August 2015, fighting has continued.