Seven dead in worst attack on aid workers since South Sudan war began

Relatives of the six aid workers who were ambushed and killed grieve outside the morgue in Juba, South Sudan. Photograph: AP

UN condemns ‘heinous murder’ of humanitarian staff from Unicef partner and calls on ‘all those in a position of power’ in South Sudan to end the violence

Six aid workers and their driver have been killed in South Sudan in the worst single attack on humanitarian staff in the country’s three-year civil war.

The aid workers, from a Unicef partner, Grassroots Empowerment and Development Organisation (Gredo), which works to support children released from armed groups, were in a vehicle marked as belonging to an NGO when they were attacked on Saturday. Four of the dead were South Sudanese and three were Kenyans.

They were killed as they drove from the capital, Juba, to the town of Pibor, according to the UN. The territory, which is remote and under government control, is beset with militia and armed groups. The UN called the attack a “heinous murder of six courageous humanitarians”.

The South Sudanese government said it was too early to say who was to blame for the ambush. Akol Paul Kordit, the deputy minister of information, told Reuters in Juba: “It will be counterproductive at this stage for anybody to rush for judgment without first allowing the truth to be established.”

Rebel fighters loyal to the former vice-president, Riek Machar, said the government should be held accountable as the killings happened on its territory.

“We don’t have forces in that area. Instead, it’s the government forces and militias who control that area,” said the spokesman for the rebel SPLM-IO forces, Lam Paul Gabriel.

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Source By https://www.theguardian.com

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