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The New Arab

Red Cross driver killed in S. Sudan ambush

South Sudan is the most difficult place in the world for aid workers [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 September, 2017

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An ambush on a humanitarian aid convoy left a Red Cross driver dead in South Sudan, the organisation said on Saturday.
A Red Cross driver was killed during an ambush by unknown in South Sudan, the organisation said on Saturday. 

Lukudu Kennedy Laki Emmanuel was shot dead on Friday when gunmen attacked the nine-vehicle convoy transporting humanitarian supplies in the war-torn country's Western Equatoria region.

"We are shaken and distraught by the killing of our colleague who was travelling in a convoy of vehicles which were clearly marked with the Red Cross emblem," said Francois Stamm, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Juba.

"In addition, all parties to the conflict in the area had been duly notified about our presence." 

The aid agency issued a fresh call for militants to refrain from attacking humanitarian workers.  

South Sudan's civil war erupted in December 2013 just two years after it obtained independence from Sudan, when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.

Thousands of people have been killed by the violence, which plunged part of the country into famine earlier this year. Some four million have been displaced, according to UN figures.

'Most difficult for aid workers'

In late August, a senior UN official said South Sudan is the most difficult place in the world for aid workers, with at least 15 killed so far in 2017.

Since the four-year conflict began at least 85 humanitarian workers have been killed in the country in attacks by both government army forces and rebels, with most of the victims South Sudanese.

"I have worked all over the world but I can't think of a more difficult place to work than here logistically in terms of the conflict, the need is sort of a perfect storm in terms of difficulty," David Shearer, head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said.

Speaking during an event in Juba to mark World Humanitarian Day, Shearer said more must be done to respect aid workers and protect their lives.

"We should acknowledge that we are in an enormous number of places across South Sudan, and if you were not there, there would be tens of hundreds of people who wouldn't be alive today," he said, according to the Sudan Tribune.

The acting head of the UN Humanitarian Coordination Office (UNOCHA) in South Sudan, Serge Tissot, said that attacks on aid workers are increasing, together with the looting of UN warehouses and the loss of tons of food.

"We continue to witness increasing, deliberate and unprovoked attacks against civilians and aid workers in South Sudan. This should not be accepted as the norm," Tissot said, according to the UN.

Since January, 27 security-related incidents have forced the relocation of some 300 aid workers, while 630 incidents of attacks on aid compounds, convoys and looting have been reported.

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