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Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan condemns attacks on UN humanitarian convoy

The Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Ms. Sara Beysolow Nyanti and the Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim (a.i.), Mr. Arafat Jamal condemn the targeted attack on a convoy carrying humanitarian commodities. They call on the perpetrators to respect international law and humanitarian staff and assets, and demand that authorities make every effort to protect communities, humanitarian personnel and assets across the country.

On 24 March 2022, a convoy of commercial trucks carrying vital life-saving food commodities from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was attacked between Gadiang and Yuai in Jonglei state. Three people on the convoy were killed, and one person was wounded.

“This attack is completely unacceptable. This is not the first of these incidents in this area. Criminals who choose to use violence to serve themselves ensure vulnerable people suffer more. If humanitarians and humanitarian assets are not protected, humanitarian assistance to that area will have to stop,” said Ms Nyanti.

On behalf of the humanitarian community, Mr Jamal extended his sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of the colleagues who were killed and injured. “I have unfailing admiration for everyone who helps and supports people in need. It is devastating to realize that people undertaking vital work can be executed so heartlessly. The crime is compounded when these attacks go unpunished. These killers must not be allowed to roam free. I call on the Government to immediately implement its commitments to ensure civilians, including humanitarians, are safe,” said Mr. Jamal.

South Sudan continues to be one of the most dangerous places for aid workers, with 319 violent incidents reported in 2021 targeting humanitarian personnel and assets, including 5 aid workers killed. This is the fourth such incident targeting humanitarian commodities since 19 December 2021 in Jongeli. Attacks of this nature disrupt humanitarian operations and affect the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people. The humanitarian community estimates that there are 1.7 million people in Jonglei in need.

Ms Nyanti is currently visiting donor capitals to raise the profile of the needs of people in South Sudan and advocating for support. “When humanitarian assistance is attacked, it is the people in need who suffer. Indeed, such incidents discourage those donor countries who would otherwise invest in South Sudan,” she lamented.

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