UN withdraws 30 aid workers from war-torn South Sudan

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Crisis in South Sudan

JUBA – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said it has withdrawn 30 humanitarian aid workers from Aburoc area in Upper Nile region following the fighting there.

David Shearer, the head of UNMISS, said the fighting has put civilians at risk as government troop’s fight to dislodge rebels from Aburoc.

“We are still unclear about exactly what is happening on the ground in terms of whether the fighting is ongoing or likely to carry on,” said Shearer.

“What is important is for both parties to pull back, because there are a number of civilians there [Aburoc] that humanitarian organisations would have been supporting,” he added.

The senior UN official who visited the area said the fighting has displaced several women, children as well as elderly people.

“So, I would like the warring parties to pull back and allow those people to the safe sanctuary that they deserve and they need,” he said.

According to Shearer, about 10,000 people including women and children left Aburoc area located along the Nile River banks. In May, UNMISS forces were temporarily deployed there to help with delivery of humanitarian aid following fighting between warring factions.

Shearer also disclosed that South Sudan’s worsening humanitarian crisis and peace deal revival efforts by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), would be discussed at the ongoing 72nd UN General Assembly in New York.

The meeting, he added, will also highlight the importance of ending impunity for attacks against civilians and humanitarian aid workers.

More than 80 aid workers, the UN said, have been killed in South Sudan ever since conflict broke out in the young nation in 2013.

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