UN condemns attack on aid workers in South Sudan

The UN humanitarian agency on Wednesday condemned last week’s violent attack on aid workers delivering polio vaccines to South Sudan’s Lakes state.

Alain Noudehou, UN deputy special representative of the secretary-general and humanitarian coordinator, said the attack that took place on Feb. 14 at Malek in Lakes state, claimed three lives and left dozens with severe injuries.

He said the vehicle was hired by the state health authorities to transport a polio vaccination team and supplies from Rumbek Center to Rumbek North, adding that the motive behind the attack remains unclear.

“This violent attack is unacceptable. It compromises the ability of health workers to provide assistance to communities impacted by the ongoing polio outbreak,” Noudehou said in a statement issued in Juba.

“Our thoughts are with the people who have been affected by this attack and with the families of the victims,” he added.

The UN humanitarian agency said those responsible for the attack should be brought to justice, adding that the vehicle was carrying information, education and communication material to sensitize the population about polio vaccination, as well as polio vaccines and packs.

The UN children’s agency (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are supporting South Sudan’s Ministry of Health to respond to a polio outbreak that started in September 2020 and has affected all the states in the country.

The nation-wide vaccination campaign that started on Tuesday is the second round since the polio outbreak as reported.

All under-five children in the country are targeted in the polio vaccination campaign.