ICRC to resume operations in S. Sudan’s Equatoria region

JUBA, Oct. 9– The International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) said Friday that it will gradually resume operations in South
Sudan’s western Equatoria region, which were suspended following the
killing of its staff last month.

A South Sudanese national, who worked as driver with ICRC, was shot on
Sept. 8 while delivering relief assistance. The ICRC said since the
shooting, they have carried out only life-saving activities, such as
medical evacuations for the wounded. “Since the tragic incident, we have
received assurances and security guarantees and now feel confident to
gradually restart to our activities in the Equatoria region,” said Francois
Stamm, ICRC’s head of delegation in South Sudan.”At the same time, we renew
our call to all parties to the conflict to respect the neutrality of
humanitarian workers and the Red Cross. Any attack on our staff and other
humanitarian workers is unacceptable and seriously hinders the delivery of
much-needed humanitarian assistance,” Stamm added.

The activities of the ICRC in the Equatoria region include distribution of
seeds and tools to communities, visits to detainees in prison, and medical
evacuations. According to the UN, South Sudan has become a hostile
environment for aid workers. Since the outbreak of civil war in the East
African country in 2013, more than 80 aid workers have been killed,
including 18 this year alone. Under international humanitarian law,
intentional attacks against humanitarian relief personnel may constitute
war crimes. South Sudan has been embroiled in more than three years of
conflict that has taken a devastating toll. The peace pact signed in Addis
Ababa in 2015 under intense international pressure was shattered again
following renewed violence between rival government and opposition troops
in the capital Juba in July 2016. – XINHUA