UN condemns assaults on aid workers in South Sudan

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The UN has decried assaults on aid workers in South Sudan in recent weeks, warning that they could compromise efforts to deliver humanitarian relief to millions of people at risk of starvation in the war-torn country.

“Over the past week, we have received reports of outrageous abuses against humanitarians by both state and opposition actors in the Upper Nile, as well as reports of horrific attacks against civilians in Eastern Equatoria,” said Eugene Owusu, the UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, in a statement Saturday.

Owusu demanded that parties to the conflict uphold their responsibilities to protect civilians and ensure the safety and security of humanitarians.

Two serious attacks on aid workers in the Upper Nile have been seen since late March. In Aburoc, humanitarians were harassed and beaten by members of armed opposition forces, while in Melut, state security officials detained and beat two aid workers before releasing them, he added.

“I call on those in power to take swift action to end the targeting of innocent people in this conflict and to hold those responsible to account.”

At least 79 aid workers have been killed in South Sudan since conflict began in the world’s youngest nation almost four years ago, including six killed last month, and at least eight humanitarian convoys have been attacked this year alone.

©Alleastafrica and MEMO

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