Six aid workers have been killed in an ambush in South Sudan, the UN said Sunday, the latest such attack in the country suffering a famine blamed on a brutal civil war.
The aid workers were killed while traveling from the capital Juba to the town of Pibor in the east of the country.
“I am appalled and outraged by the heinous murder yesterday of six courageous humanitarians in South Sudan,” said Eugene Owusu of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a statement.
“At a time when humanitarian needs have reached unprecedented levels, it is entirely unacceptable that those who are trying to help are being attacked and killed.”
Contacted by AFP, the agency could not reveal who employed the aid workers.
Some 100,000 people are suffering from the man-made famine in South Sudan and another million are not far off after a nasty stop-start three-year civil war in which starvation has become a battlefield tactic.
It is no coincidence that areas afflicted by famine are opposition areas, home to mostly ethnic Nuer and controlled for the most part by rebels, a leaked report by United Nations investigators said last week.
According to OCHA, the ambush represents the highest number of aid workers killed in a single incident since the conflict began in December 2013.
It follows two other attacks on aid workers this month.
A health worker and a patient were killed in an attack on a humanitarian convoy responding to a cholera outbreak in the central town of Yirol on March 14.
Earlier during fighting in northern Mayendit on March 10, the local staff of an international NGO were detained by armed rebels and released four days later, said OCHA.
By Africafrique and agencies