- The chattered plane detained by rebels (courtesy photo)
A rebel official, Brig. General John Tap Puot, said investigations were ongoing to determine the identity of the pilot, accused of collaborating with government.
He said they would not release the pilot after he violated the territorial rules and regulations governed by the SPLM-IO.
“We would not have any problem with the pilot if he came alone because he was hired and used to transport a government official meaning there is something behind his coming here,” Puot told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
The rebel official claimed he was contacted by South Sudan’s First Vice-President, Taban Deng Gai demanding that the pilot, currently in the rebels’ hands, be released.
He, however, added that the pilot would only be freed on condition that James Gatdet Dak, the detained spokesperson of rebel leader Riek Machar, is released.
The pilot, identified as Mohammed Nassor Sauh, flew aircraft number, CESSNA 208B-CARAVAN, leased by South Sudan Air Aviation on 1 November.