South Sudan rebels release 3 abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels say they have released three oil workers — two Indians and a Pakistani — after they were abducted and held for three weeks amid the country's civil war.

A statement by rebel leader Riek Machar says the men were released and the Indian and Pakistani embassies were notified.

India's ambassador to South Sudan, Srikumar Menon, told The Associated Press on Friday that "it's a big relief that it's over."

The three men released Thursday were subcontractors for Dar Petroleum, a consortium of oil exploration and production companies based in South Sudan's capital, Juba. It was not clear why they were kidnapped in the Upper Nile region.

The two Indian nationals have been taken to the capital of neighboring Sudan and are said to be unharmed.