UN official says 6 aid workers killed in South Sudan

Mar 30, 2017, 00:43
UN official says 6 aid workers killed in South Sudan

On Sunday, the Sudanese government said it agreed on opening a new corridor via El Obied, Heglig, Rubkona and Bentiu for delivery of humanitarian aid to the population affected by starvation in South Sudan's Unity and Greater Bahr el Ghazal States.

The World Food Programme plans to deliver 11,000 tones of sorghum this week in seven convoys of trucks that is expected to feed 300,000 people for three months, it said.

The aid workers, from a Unicef partner, Grassroots Empowerment and Development Organisation (Gredo), which works to support children released from armed groups, were in a vehicle marked as belonging to an NGO when they were attacked on Saturday.

Relatives of the six aid workers who were ambushed and killed grieve as they wait to collect and bury the bodies of their loved ones, outside the morgue in Juba, South Sudan Monday, March 27, 2017. Their bodies were found on the road by others members of the convoy who were some way behind.

Pibor is the main town in Boma state, a vast underdeveloped territory bordering Ethiopia which was rocked by violence between competing clans earlier in March.

"Instead its the government forces and militias who control that area", said the spokesman for the rebel SPLM-IO forces, Lam Gabriel.

"This cold-blooded killing is utterly reprehensible, not least, because these aid workers were dedicated to alleviating the on-going suffering of the people of South Sudan".

The Juba government has also been accused by aid organisations of trying to profit from the humanitarian crisis by sharply raising foreign worker visa fees to $10,000 per person. "We are seeing the opposite at the moment". During the meeting on refugees in Somalia, IGAD urged all parties of the conflict to commit fully to the implementation of the peace agreement signed.

More than three years of conflict have taken a devastating toll on the people of South Sudan.

The African Union also strongly condemned the attack.

The United Nations welcomed Sudan's decision to open the aid corridor, saying it showed Khartoum's "commitment" to the people of South Sudan.

"We don't have forces in that area".

For her part, Joyce Luma, Country Director of WFP, said the humanitarian agencies always get their permission from the national government.

He said the last two months alone had seen a sharp increase of attacks on humanitarians and looting of supplies intended for people suffering from the starvation.

The conflict between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Machar has killed tens of thousands and displaced 3.4 million people.

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