The Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim in South Sudan, Mr. Peter van der Auweraert, has strongly condemned the killing of three aid workers in Rumameer village, Abyei Administrative Area and in Duk County, Jonglei State, and called for authorities and communities to protect humanitarian personnel as they deliver assistance to vulnerable people.
"I am shocked by the report on the killing of two aid workers in the Abyei Administrative Area and another aid worker killed in Jonglei. I want to express our condolences to the family and colleagues of the aid workers who were killed. Humanitarians are working tirelessly to serve the most vulnerable people, including women, children and the elderly with vital humanitarian assistance and attacks against them are completely unacceptable and must stop," said Mr. van der Auweraert.
On 2 January, armed men attacked Rumameer village in the Abyei Administrative Area. Two aid workers and several civilians were killed. Many people were injured during the attack. The aid workers were shot and killed while on duty at a humanitarian facility in Rumameer village.
In a second incident on 7 January, an aid worker was killed by unknown individuals while he guarded humanitarian commodities in Duk County, Jonglei State. Humanitarian commodities were looted during the incident.
People across South Sudan and the Abyei Administrative Area are experiencing critical needs. Efforts by humanitarian partners to respond to people's needs are affected by increased violence against personnel and assets.
"In the opening days of this year, three South Sudanese aid workers who contributed to help others have paid the highest price – with their lives. I would remind all parties to the conflict that they have obligations under International Humanitarian Law to protect and respect civilians, the wounded and sick and those captured. I again call on relevant authorities to restore order and protect civilians, including humanitarian personnel and assets," added Mr. van der Auweraert. "As the humanitarian community, we call on authorities to bring the perpetrators swiftly to justice."
South Sudan continues to be one of the most dangerous places for aid workers. Nine humanitarian workers have been killed in the line of duty in 2022, compared to five in 2021. Since the conflict began in 2013, 141 humanitarians, predominantly South Sudanese, have lost their lives while providing humanitarian assistance to people.