UNICEF calls for probe into drivers killing

By Charles Kay Mark

UN Children’s Agency UNICEF has suspended delivery of essential aid supplies to Yei River country after two contracted drivers were murdered along the way.

Two trucks were attacked on Saturday morning while returning to Juba after delivering crucial aid supplies for children and families in Yei in River County, Central Equatoria State.

The UN agency urged the government to step up security and bring the killers to book.

“Due to the attack, UNICEF has paused the movement of supplies to that area and is urging the government to step up security on the roads and bring those responsible to justice,” James Maiden, UNICEF Chief of Communications, said.

The official said the safety and security of staff and contractors is of the utmost importance, adding that attacks such as this make children and women in desperate need of assistance suffer the most.

“Our deepest condolences and sympathies are with the families of the drivers who are so frequently in the firing line of these needless attacks,” Maiden said.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, issued a statement strongly condemning the deadly attack on the two trucks that caused UNICEF to pause supply to the area in question.

The acting humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, Mary-Ellen McGroarty, said, “Those who provide vital assistance to the most vulnerable must be protected. The killing of those who deliver support to save lives is unacceptable.”

Humanitarian workers across South Sudan, mostly national staff, face violence, threats, and looting, among other challenges, while trying to reach people in need.

The latest UN report placed South Sudan at the top of the list of the most dangerous countries for aid workers in the world.

For his part, Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, spokesperson of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), blamed the National Salvation Front (NAS) forces under the directives of Cde Luga Lo’ Woja for allegedly carrying out the attacks on Saturday.

Lul said UNICEF should ask the leadership of the NAS to hold their commander, ‘Luga Lo’Woja’, accountable for killing the drivers and for causing insecurity along the highway.

“We have forces deployed everywhere, but you know those people look for areas where the SSPDF has moved away to other locations, and they conduct their operations,” the Army spokesman told this outlet.

Trading accusations have persistently continued between the government and holdout groups such as the National Salvation Front (NAS) for continued attacks and killing of civilians on the major highways of the country.

When contacted for a comment on the same matter, the body monitoring the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement (R-JMEC) declined to add its voice.

No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper could not independently verify the accusations labeled against the NAS on the attack.


Comments are closed.