Monday 16 July 2018

Two aid workers are killed in South Sudan war

Two aid workers have been killed in South Sudan
Two aid workers have been killed in South Sudan

Two aid workers from the international humanitarian medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have been killed in South Sudan.

Last week, Gawar Top Puoy, a logistician who had worked for MSF since 2009, was killed during an attack on the village of Wulu.

James Gatluak Gatpieny, a community health worker who had worked for MSF since 2011, was killed during a separate attack on the village of Payak last week.

Both villages are located in the area surrounding Leer, in conflict-affected Unity state.

Médecins Sans Frontières was forced to evacuate all international staff from its hospital in Leer in May as fighting in Unity state intensified. South Sudanese staff members, like Gawar Top Puoy and James Gatluak Gatpieny, sought shelter with their families in the surrounding swamps to escape the ongoing fighting.

Despite being displaced themselves, many continue to support MSF activities - carrying backpacks with medicines to treat civilians and informing people about MSF mobile clinics in the area.


"We're deeply shocked and saddened by the killings of our colleagues" said Tara Newell, MSF Emergency Manager.

"It's an indication of current level of violence that people living in Unity state today are exposed to."

Several staff members who worked in Leer are unaccounted for and at the end of July, another MSF aid worker was injured after being shot in the face during an attack on the village of Dablual.

"This sad news reaches us following a period of increased instability and shocking violence across South Sudan. Our thoughts are with the families of these dedicated staff," said Jane-Ann McKenna, Director of Médecins Sans Frontières in Ireland.

The MSF hospital in Leer remains non-functional and was the only secondary healthcare facility for around 200,000 people. 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. In the last month alone, the MSF team - with only one medic - has stabilised over 50 people with gunshot wounds.

Irish Independent

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