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Attacks on aid workers increasing in S.Sudan
August 20, 2017
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RENK: The United Nations says attacks against aid workers are increasing in South Sudan.

A statement by the humanitarian coordinator there, Serge Tissot, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), says the attacks also put millions of South Sudanese in peril amid the country’s civil war. Millions face severe hunger.

The world’s youngest nation has become one of the most dangerous places for aid workers to operate. Eighty-two have been killed since 2013, including 15 this year. Many are local workers.

The U.N. says attacks include the looting of warehouses and trucks and the loss of tonnes of food aid.

The world body has repeatedly asked South Sudan’s government to better protect aid workers and let them do their jobs without restrictions.

Government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny says it is “unbecoming” to think authorities are targeting aid workers.

Meanwhile, armed civilians briefly abducted a South Sudanese rebel spokesman in Uganda and told him to stop talking to the media, two rebel officials said on Saturday.

Rebel spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel accused South Sudan’s government of being behind his abduction, but said the group of six armed men and a woman who took him from his home appeared to be from Uganda, which borders South Sudan.

Gabriel, who said the group had told him to stop talking to the media, said Ugandan police ensured he returned home safely. Another South Sudanese rebel official gave a similar account.

South Sudan, which won independence in 2011, descended into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir fired his deputy, Riek Machar. After on-off peace talks, sporadic conflict has flared again, with each blaming the other for stoking violence.

Ugandan police confirmed civilians had tried to detain the rebel spokesman, but denied South Sudan’s government was involved. They said police were investigating.

South Sudan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mawien Makol said he had no information on the alleged incident.

Machar, who previously stayed in Ethiopia and Sudan, is under house arrest in South Africa after seeking medical treatment there.

Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet, was deported to South Sudan last year from Kenya, and has been seen in solitary confinement in a prison in Juba.


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