South Sudan: Humanitarian Coordinator condemns horrific killing of aid workers in Wau
(Juba, 15 April 2017): The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, has expressed shock and outrage after being informed of the killing of three workers involved in the delivery of vital food aid in Wau, less than one week after he called for an end to all attacks against aid workers in South Sudan.
“Just last week, I appealed for an end to the targeting of innocent people in this conflict,” said Mr. Owusu. “And yet yesterday I learned that three porters were heinously killed while making their way to a World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse in the midst of security operations in Wau town on 10 April. I am appalled by this abhorrent act and demand an urgent investigation to identify those who are responsible and bring them to account.”
The deaths bring the number of aid workers killed in South Sudan to 82. Fourteen aid workers have already been killed in 2017, compared to 24 in all of 2016.
“There are no words left to explain the level of frustration and outrage I feel regarding the continued attacks against humanitarians in South Sudan who are simply trying to help the civilians who are suffering as a result of this conflict,” said Mr. Owusu. “I join WFP in sending my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the three brave men who lost their lives this week in the service of the vulnerable people in this country.”
Separately, 60 humanitarian workers have had to relocate from multiple locations in Jonglei yesterday and today – including Waat and Walgak – due to intensified conflict in the area. Early indications are that the civilian population is also fleeing, though the number of people displaced has been unable to be verified due to the highly fluid situation.
“I call on the parties to the conflict to uphold their responsibilities under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and ensure the proportionality of their actions,” said Mr. Owusu. “I am deeply disappointed that, despite the assurances that we have received and the commitments that have been made, humanitarians are again having to relocate, and civilians again being uprooted, in an area where needs were already high.”
Across South Sudan, humanitarian needs continue to rise, while the operating environment is becoming increasingly dangerous and difficult. In March alone, 79 humanitarian access incidents were reported.
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