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UNHCR condemns "senseless" attack on aid workers in S. Sudan

December 4, 2019 (JUBA) – The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has condemned the recent attack on aid workers on South Sudan, calling for their increased protection.

UN staffers distribute food tokens to Sudanese refugees in the Yida camp in South Sudan in May 2012 (Photo: UNHCR)

On Sunday, armed men broke into a compound for Relief International in Bunj town in Upper Nile’s Maban county, severely assaulted staff and took their belongings.

“UNHCR strongly condemns this senseless act against aid workers who were there to improve the lives of refugees and vulnerable South Sudanese nationals,” said UNHCR.

There have been increased attacks on aid workers in the country and Sunday’s violence in Maban happened only a month after three UN staff working in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria region were killed.

Ensuring the safety and security of aid workers in South Sudan has now become a major challenge, said UNHCR.

“This continuously hampers humanitarian action for some of the world’s most desperate people,” stressed the agency.

UNHCR called for enhanced respect for international humanitarian and human rights law to protect civilians and humanitarian workers from violence and to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice immediately.

At least 115 aid workers, the UN says, have been killed since South Sudan’s civil war started in December 2013.