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UN condemns killing of 3 aid workers in South Sudan’s Inter-communal violence

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The UN humanitarian agency on Wednesday condemned the killing of three aid workers in Jonglei of northeastern South Sudan amid renewed inter-communal violence over the weekend.

Alain Noudehou, humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan called for an end to recurring acts of violence that are disrupting life-saving assistance and COVID-19 response in many parts of the country.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of three aid workers in Pieri and call for those responsible to be brought swiftly to justice,” Noudehou said in a statement issued in Juba.

The statement comes after one staff member from the global medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and two staff members of another humanitarian organization were killed after intense fighting erupted in and around Pieri town, Jonglei on May 16.

Steve MacKay, MSF deputy head of Mission in South Sudan condemned the outrageous acts of inter-communal violence that has left dozens of people seriously wounded and many are feared dead.

“We express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of our staff and all those affected,” according to a statement issued in Juba on Tuesday.

South Sudan was ranked the most dangerous place to deliver aid, according to the Worker Security Report for 2018. Over 100 humanitarian workers have been killed in South Sudan since the country descended into violence in 2013.

The UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said Wednesday it has launched a probe into the deadly renewed inter-communal clashes.

Hundreds of people were reportedly killed and wounded, many more were forced to flee the area, and several aid workers are still unaccounted for during the sudden outbreak of violence between armed Murle youth and Lou Nuer fighters over the weekend.

UNMISS head David Shearer said while politically motivated conflict has reduced in South Sudan, inter-communal fighting has increased.

The peacekeeping mission attributed the recent violence to the failure by South Sudan’s leaders to agree on the appointment of governors and establish political leadership at the local government level.

Inter-communal violence has broken out several times in the past months in Jonglei, an area that has experienced years of food insecurity and was severely affected by flooding last year.

The UN says inter-communal clashes and armed conflict are hampering humanitarian efforts to pre-position food, medicine and other aid supplies in the final weeks before the rains become heavier and cut off road access to vulnerable communities.

(XINHUA)

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