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UN monitors accuse South Sudan army of blocking humanitarian assistance

November 10, 2017 (JUBA) - United Nations monitors have accused the South Sudanese government of preventing humanitarian assistance to reach the civilians in the war-affected areas located in Western Bahr el-Ghazal region, adding they are perceived as hostile to the regime.

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The SPLA-IO forces during their arrival at Masana Biira in Wau on 07, August 2017 (ST)

“The government has during much of 2017 deliberately prevented life-saving food assistance from reaching some citizens,” says a report to the U.N. Security Council’s South Sudan sanctions committee submitted by UN monitors,

“These actions amount to using food as a weapon of war with the intent to inflict suffering on civilians the government views as opponents to its agenda,” stresses the report which has been disclosed by Reuters on Friday.

The international monitors, also, cite the Greater Baggari as one of the areas subjected to the "persistent and systematic" government’s access denials despite the "catastrophic humanitarian conditions".

In August, the government eased restrictions, allowing aid groups to distribute food and lifesaving assistance to more than 12,000 people in Greater Baggari. Villages had been looted and burned and crops destroyed, the U.N. monitors wrote.

The report says over 164 children and elderly had died from hunger and disease between January and September 2017.

Different reports since last year mentioned that the South Sudanese prevent aid workers from reaching the civilians in different areas. Last August the head of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) David Shearer Friday said the east African country is the most difficult place in the world for humanitarian workers.

After a visit to Wau in September 2017, the head of USAID Mark Green urged President Salva Kiir to allow humanitarian access to civilians pointing that the government army and allied forces impede the humanitarian access the civilians in the war affected areas.

Some 15 aid workers were killed this year until now bringing the number of humanitarians killed during the four-year conflict to 85 people as they continue to be attacked and the humanitarian assistance looted by gunmen in various areas in the troubled country.

The U.N. monitors said the South Sudanese army during the 2016 and 2017 military campaign in the north-western town of Wau and surrounding areas targeted civilians on ethnic grounds and displaced more than 100,000, according to Reuters.

(ST)