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IOM urges South Sudan group to free volunteer worker, child

October 2, 2019 (JUBA) - The International Migration for Migration (IOM) on Friday called for the immediate liberation of a volunteer and child who’ve been missing since a gun battle in South Sudan at the weekend that claimed the lives of three humanitarian workers.

A woman carries water through a UN camp for internally displaced people in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state (Photo: IOM)

Those killed, IOM said, were caught in the crossfire between two armed groups in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria’s Morobo county.

The volunteers had been manning an Ebola virus screening point in border areas between South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

It is understood that the four-year-old child is the son of female IOM worker who was killed, along with two male team members.

The spokesperson for the UN migration agency, Paul Dillon said all possible actions were being taken to secure the release of the two individuals immediately, and that operations had been suspended for the time being in several border areas.

“Obviously, we are there for a reason, to monitor possible flows of Ebola into South Sudan. These individuals in South Sudan as in many other countries are very much on the front line in this response... We have suspended our operations in five of those border areas until we can get clarity on the security situation and the commitment from all actors in that area that the security of our staff in that area will be safeguarded,” he stressed.

Since the outbreak of civil war in December 2013, IOM has reportedly supported thousands of host communities, returnees and internally displaced people.