International relief agencies condemn violence in South Sudan

Juba, April 22: International relief organisations in South Sudan have condemned the violence against civilians and have vowed to step up aid supplies across the country.

A joint statement Tuesday said the country representatives of key non-governmental organisations, UN agencies and donors condemned attacks against civilians in Bentiu, Bor, and other parts of the country, Xinhua reported.

“Humanitarian partners are particularly outraged by deliberate and targeted killings of civilians in hospitals, churches, UN peacekeeping bases and other places where people’s rights should be sacrosanct,” the organisations said in the statement.

Armed civilians forced their way into the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) protection site in Bor last week, where some 5,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were being sheltered, and opened fire.

Dozens of civilians were wounded and two UN peacekeepers sustained injuries repelling the armed mob.

Four months into the conflict between pro- and anti-Government forces, UNMISS is hosting some 67,000 civilians at its bases around the country.

Although the main parties to the conflict have signed a cessation of hostilities agreement, violence has escalated in recent weeks.

Amid fighting in the capital of Unity State, Bentiu, anti-government forces overran the town and the nearby neighbourhood of Rubkona.

As a result, the number of IDPs in the UNMISS compound there has risen to 12,000.

“Aid agencies pledge to continue to stand with all civilians in South Sudan, whoever they are in particular with the children, women and elderly people who bear the brunt of this conflict,” the statement said.

Humanitarian organisations have deployed emergency surgical teams to Bentiu and Bor, boosting the health response to the recent violence.

“Aid workers also continue to provide food, shelter, water, protection and other essential services, including to civilians sheltering inside UN peacekeeping bases,” the statement said.

IANS