JUBA MARCH 28, 2017 (CISA) – Six aid workers were killed in an ambush in South Sudan on March 25 while traveling from the capital Juba to the town of Pibor, the United Nations has said.
“I am appalled and outraged by the heinous murder yesterday of six courageous humanitarians in South Sudan,” UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan Eugene Owusu said in a statement on March 26.
“I implore all those in positions of power to step up to their responsibilities and stop this, as they are ultimately accountable for what happens under their watch. There is no safety when attacks are met with silence and inaction,” he added.
The UN however did not specify if the victims worked for the UN or gave other details but said the latest incident represents the highest number of aid workers killed in a single incident since the country’s civil war began in December 2013.
At least 79 aid workers have been killed since then. This year, at least 12 have died and at least eight humanitarian convoys have been attacked.
Meanwhile the first soldiers of a UN-mandated regional military force are set to be deployed to South Sudan within a month, Herve Ladsous the outgoing UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations has said.
“The vanguard element of the force will be deployed between end of April, beginning of May,” Ladsous said in a press conference on March 25.
According to Ladsous, the first contingent of soldiers to the country will come from Bangladesh and Nepal and the deployment will include a helicopter unit. Other troops, notably Ethiopians, are expected to arrive in late May or early June, AFP reported.
“We have been moving heaven and earth to accelerate the deployment of the RPF (military force), but the government of South Sudan put a lot of hindrance in the process,” Ladsous said.
The deployment of the 4,000-strong force was decided after the government and rebel forces resumed fighting in July 2016.
The new force would add to the 13,000 UN peacekeepers already in the country, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 but plunged into civil war in 2013.