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January 16, 2020, Juba, South Sudan — After fighting broke out between two opposing groups in Panyijar County, South Sudan, an IRC ambulance carrying civilians severely injured in the fighting was attacked. While all IRC staff are safe civilians were killed and injured in the fighting that broke out on Tuesday evening.
Martin Omukuba, South Sudan Country Director at the IRC, said,
“This attack is a gross violation of humanitarian law. Aid workers and humanitarian services should never be a target more so an ambulance carrying patients. There is nothing more horrific than attacking an aid vehicle that is attempting to rush injured civilians to a hospital to save their lives. The IRC is working with local authorities to condemn this attack, but this fighting is case in point that South Sudan needs a stable, unified government to stop the fighting and ensure protections for civilians. The South Sudanese people have endured years of violence and poverty, forced to flee their homes and unable to access basic life saving services. It’s time for all warring parties to adhere to the deadlines it has set for itself, take charge and deliver peace and security to the people of South Sudan.”
South Sudan remains one of the most dangerous places for aid workers. A total of 115 aid workers have been killed in South Sudan since the outbreak of violence in December 2013. “We must not allow for a new normal where civilians air fair game, humanitarians unfortunate collateral, and investigations and accountability are an optional extra,” said Omukuba.
The IRC has more than 500 staff in South Sudan responding to the increasingly dire food insecurity crisis through our support for health, nutrition, reproduction health and women’s protection and empowerment, child protection, as well as livelihoods. The IRC is one of the largest providers of aid in South Sudan serving more than 900,000 people.