Humanitarian organizations horrified by killings in Maban County

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Country representatives of key non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and donors have expressed outrage at the killings of at least six South Sudanese aid workers in Maban County, Upper Nile State, early this week.

Country representatives of key non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and donors have expressed outrage at the killings of at least six South Sudanese aid workers in Maban County, Upper Nile State, early this week.

 

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, said a statement from the humanitarian community.

 

“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,” said Toby Lanzer, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan.

 

Lanzer said that 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.

 

The humanitarian agencies say that while they 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.

 

In the same vein, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called for respect for humanitarian workers saying the targeting of humanitarian workers has to stop immediately. In a separate statement, ICRC said it was shocked and dismayed by reports of the killing of six humanitarian workers from various non-governmental organizations in Maban County.

 

"There has to be an environment in which humanitarian work can take place, so that aid can be brought to around 120,000 refugees in the area," said Franz Rauchenstein, head of the ICRC delegation in South Sudan.

 

The ICRC reminded the combatants that all civilians, including aid workers, should be respected and protected. The six workers were killed in Bunj, Maban County, in Upper Nile State.

 

Meanwhile, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki moon has strongly condemned the recent killings of five South Sudanese employees of non-governmental organisations in Maban county, Upper Nile state.

 

The UN boss has demanded that the relevant authorities conduct a full investigation into these tragic events. He calls on all armed forces and groups in South Sudan to do their utmost to keep relief personnel and civilians safe from harm,” he said in a statement.

So far, no arrests have been made in relationship to the six deaths.The killings are suspected to have been perpetrated by members of Mabanese Defence Forces.

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