South Sudan: aid workers freed, humanitarian deaths reach 100 since December 2013
Ten aid workers who were detained while on an assessment mission near Yei, Central Equatoria, have been freed. The humanitarian workers were held by an armed opposition group in South Sudan for more than five days, since 25 April.
The humanitarian staff, all nationals, included one from UNOCHA, two from UNICEF, one from the South Sudanese Development Organisation, (SSDO), two from ACROSS, three from Plan International and one from Action Africa Help (AAH).
Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Alain Noudehou, confirmed that the workers were returned safely and in good health. He commended the tireless work of those who secured their release, particularly the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to facilitate their return to Juba.
He expressed outrage at what he described as a deteriorating environment for humanitarian work in South Sudan.
Earlier the same week, a humanitarian worker was shot and killed while returning to check on a health clinic that had been looted in Leer County. This most recent death brings to 100 the total number of aid workers killed since the conflict began in December 2013.
“I am deeply concerned by the insecurity faced by aid workers in South Sudan, who are risking their lives to save others,” said Noudehou. I strongly urge the parties to the conflict to abide by international humanitarian law and ensure that humanitarians are safe while delivering assistance and services to people in need.”