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UNHCR condemns Bunj attack on aid workers

Author: Staff Writer | Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Sunset over Doro refugee camp in Mabaan County, South Sudan, June 2013. | Credit | UNHCR/Sebastian Rich

The UN Refugee Agency has expressed outrage at the latest attack on humanitarian workers in South Sudan.

On Sunday, armed men broke into an NGO compound in Bunj town, Northern Upper Nile, and severely assaulted staff and robbed them of their valuables.

“UNHCR strongly condemns this senseless act against aid workers who were there to improve the lives of refugees and vulnerable South Sudanese nationals,” it said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The attack comes a month after three staff of the International Organization for Migration were attacked and killed by gunmen in Morobo, Yei River State.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is calling for increased protection for aid workers in South Sudan after this weekend’s targeting of an international relief agency by armed men.

“Ensuring the safety and security of aid workers in South Sudan has now become a major challenge,” it continues.

Following the attack on IOM workers, the UN agency suspended its operations there.

The attacks on aid workers “continuously hampers humanitarian action for” vulnerable people in the country.

The Refugee Agency added: “UNHCR calls for enhanced respect for international humanitarian and human rights law to protect civilians and humanitarian workers from violence and to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice immediately.”

Attacks against aid workers and aid operations have been a common occurrence since hostilities broke out in December 2013, with both government and opposition forces and allied militia bearing responsibility, according to Human Rights Watch.

It says aid workers have been victims of unlawful killings, abductions, sexual violence, and other abuses. Aid supplies and property have been looted and destroyed.

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