Press release by Humanitarian Country Team: Humanitarian organizations in South Sudan horrified by killings in Maban County

Juba, 6 August 2014: Country representatives of key non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and donors in South Sudan are horrified by the killings of at least six South Sudanese aid workers in Maban County, Upper Nile State, in the past 48 hours. The humanitarian community is united in condemning these ethnically based crimes, and calls on authorities to conduct a full and swift investigation and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends of our colleagues who have been killed,” said Toby Lanzer, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan. “We demand that all armed groups stop targeting civilians, and respect aid workers. Several of our colleagues in Maban are still in danger, and will not be safe until security is restored.”

The current wave of attacks on civilians in Maban County is symptomatic of the brutal violence that has characterized the conflict in South Sudan since December 2013. In the past eight months, over 1.5 million people have been displaced from their homes by violence and fear. Tens of thousands of people have been killed, raped or wounded, often based on their ethnicity.

Maban County is home to a major aid operation providing life-saving relief to over 127,000 refugees and local communities. Essential services such as food distributions and emergency healthcare are now suspended. While aid agencies are committed to staying in Maban, their work hinges on the security of their staff, especially of South Sudanese colleagues who make up a large majority of the aid workers in the area and without whom the operation would not be possible.

For more information, contact:

Tapiwa Gomo, UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan (gomo@un.org / +211 922406079)

Amanda Weyler, UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan (weylera@un.org / +211 922 473 115)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.