JUBA, South Sudan, August 5, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The UN Mission in South sudan (UNMISS) condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing by the so-called! Mabanese Defence Forces of at least five South Sudanese employees of humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) earlier today in and around Bunj, Maban County, in Upper Nile State. Two of the victims were murdered in Bunj Town, a third aid worker is reported as missing but presumed dead. Another three died in an ambush as they were attempting to return to the town. The militia group is reportedly targeting civilians of Nuer origin after they clashed with defecting Nuer soldiers and suffered casualties.
Dozens of humanitarian aid workers have taken refuge inside the main compound of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The violence has also displaced thousands of persons most of whom have sought protection amongst refugees! in Doro refugee camp that is adjacent to the airstrip.
UNMISS dispatched a unit of peacekeepers in four armored personnel carriers from its base in the Upper Nile State town of Melut earlier this afternoon to protect United Nations and humanitarian personnel, as well as civilians who have taken refuge in United Nations facilities. SPLA Headquarters and the Upper Nile State Government have reported that SPLA reinforcements are also en route to Bunj to rein in the militia elements.
Today’s heinous crimes come on the heels of the murder of a Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) em! ployee in Bunj yesterday morning by members of the same self-defence militia. These ethnically targeted attacks on unarmed aid workers will have a very drastic and adverse impact on the operations of humanitarian partners who have been providing food, shelter and other relief items to over 127,000 refugees from sudan for over three years. The Mission calls upon local, state and national authorities to bring to justice the individuals responsible for these murders as soon as possible to halt the ongoing descent into lawlessness in Maban County.