Government condemns attack on humanitarian ambulance

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[Yei, South Sudan, TCT] The government has condemned an attack on a humanitarian ambulance in Yei and called for speedy investigations to bring to book the perpetrators of the act.

On December 2nd, unidentified gunmen attacked an ambulance of ACROSS aid organization, which had four passengers on board, including the driver. The vehicle was shot at with machine guns and ransacked, leaving its tyres flat.

Three people are missing, while the driver is receiving treatment in Yei after he sustained injuries while trying to flee from the attack.
Speaking to The Christian Times on Monday, State Minister for Information, Stephen Lado Onesimo, denounced the perpetrators of the ambush and said the attack was unwarranted.

“As the government, we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. This act of attacking humanitarian agencies is uncalled for”, he said. “The government is trying to see that these people are held accountable.”

Lado said the ambulance was rushing to take sick refugees sheltered in Nyori refugee camp, around 23 miles away from the town, so they could access proper medical treatment. Nyori refugee camp in Lasu Payam is hosting refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

Lado, who is also the state government spokesperson, explained that those who are still missing include two Congolese refugees and a clinical officer, who is a South Sudanese national. TCT’s efforts to reach ACROSS for comments failed.

Since July this year, Yei River State has experienced a serious breakdown of security, characterized by clashes between government forces and armed opposition groups.

On May 20th this year, government forces were accused of shooting an ambulance carrying an expectant mother to Harvester Hospital in the early morning hours.

The shooting left the medical doctor at St. Bakhita Health Centre, Dr. Veronika Rackova, critically wounded. She died a week later because of wounds she suffered in a hospital in Kenya.

Three suspects linked to the shooting were arrested and have been put in detention, the state Governor said.
Lado said it was sad to see these incidents happening to these organizations, as attacks against humanitarian agencies threaten their work and the lives of South Sudanese they are serving.

State Governor David Lokonga has previously said that his government will continue to provide access to humanitarian agencies to provide their services to needy people in the state.

“We want to appeal to those who have taken arms against the government to work hard into ensuring that humanitarian access is guaranteed to everybody, so that these humanitarian agencies can reach the civilians wherever they are,” he said.

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