New York - The United Nations says all 20 UN peacekeepers detained by rebels in South Sudan have been released.
But UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Thursday the rebels are still holding 12 UN contractors.
He said a UN barge carrying fuel was travelling on the Nile river north of Malakal on October 26 when it was blocked in Kaka by over 100 heavily armed men affiliated with the SPLA-in Opposition who detained the peacekeepers and crew. He said the fuel was looted.
Also Read: AU: War crimes, forced cannibalism in South Sudan conflict
Dujarric said the UN mission is calling on rebel leader Riek Machar to immediately release the South Sudanese crew "unharmed and unhurt" and return the barge and weapons and equipment belonging to the peacekeepers.
He stressed that attacks on peacekeepers and other UN staff can constitute war crimes.