Sunday December 10, 2017

Two MSF aid workers killed in South Sudan

Children washing clothes and cooking pots in the creek at Nyori refugee camp in South Sudan. The drinking water in the camp comes from boreholes drilled by MSF and UNHCR.

Separate attacks claim lives of logistician, community health worker, humanitarian group says

The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders says two of its workers have been killed in separate attacks in villages in South Sudan.

The group, also known by the French name Medecins Sans Frontieres, said Tuesday that Gawar Top Puoy, a logistician, and community health worker James Gatluak Gatpieny were killed last week in troubled Unity state.

MSF spokeswoman Victoria Russell said the area was inaccessible and the group only received confirmation of their deaths over the weekend. The exact circumstances were unclear.

South Sudan has been at war since a December 2013 rebellion by a former deputy president.

As fighting increased in May, the group evacuated international staffers from its hospital in Leer in Unity state. The two local workers joined their families in nearby swamps to avoid the violence.

A mobile MSF team consisting of three international staff members has been present in the area for the past month, trying to provide some basic healthcare services amidst ongoing fighting. Running a small clinic in Leer town, or travelling by foot, raft or canoe, they have managed to reach displaced people sheltering in the surrounding swamps, treating respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, malaria and some cases of sexual violence. War wounded are seen nearly every day.

In the last month alone, the MSF team – with only one medic – has stabilized over 50 people with gunshot wounds.  One of these patients was a three-year-old girl shot in the leg, another a heavily pregnant woman shot in both legs and her right hand during a different attack. Her unborn child did not survive the ordeal.

“The situation is desperate. Ongoing attacks, killings and sexual violence against civilians by any armed actor in Unity state must stop” said Ms Newell. “People displaced from their homes and villages should be able to move safely to seek assistance, wherever it is being provided.”

Times Wire Staff
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