Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), a medical charity, has said seven of its workers were attacked and robbed in ambush by an armed group in South Sudan.
The medical charity said, in a statement, that the aid workers were travelling along the Yei – Maridi road in two branded vehicles to support the provision of community-based healthcare for malaria, pneumonia, and acute watery diarrhoea in the Minyori community when they were attacked on Tuesday, March 1.
“The team was forced into the bush where they were threatened and robbed of everything they carried, including MSF property and personal belongings,” MSF said. “The team was released without physical injury but had to walk to safety on foot due to the vehicles being destroyed. ”
MSF said its workers were released without physical injury but had to walk to safety on foot due to the vehicles being destroyed.
The aid group said its staff and vehicles had been clearly identified as MSF humanitarian workers and assets, protected under International Humanitarian Law.
“MSF is deeply shocked by this attack on the provision of neutral and impartial medical assistance for communities in need,” it said.
“Sadly, we have been forced to immediately suspend all outreach activities from Yei, depriving communities of access to critically needed medical care, until we are able to re-establish acceptable security conditions to continue our life-saving work.”
The latest attack comes barely after a nurse working with the medical charity was killed in his Agor home by armed groups terrorising the region.
South Sudan has seen repeated bouts of violence from armed groups since 2011 when it gained independence from Sudan, including clashes between government forces and a loose coalition of army defectors and ethnic militias.
The years-long violence has killed thousands of people, forcing more than 8 million people from their homes. Of these, 2.2 million are refugees in neighbouring countries.
According to the United Nations humanitarian agency, more than 8.3 million people in South Sudan are expected to be in need of humanitarian assistance in the lean season of 2022, due to a worsening food insecurity that will drive more than half of the country into acute conditions.
The prevailing violence against aid workers has raised concerns of hindering humanitarian responses in the country.
In 2021, South Sudan was listed as one of the deadliest places to be an aid worker, according to data from the Humanitarian Outcomes Aid Worker Security Database.
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