JUBA, (Xinhua) --
International medical charity Medecins
Sans Frontieres (MSF) on Wednesday denounced attack on its staff
in South Sudan which resulted in injuries of two staff members,
a loss of medical equipment and assets.
MSF said the ambush
on Aug. 24 outside the town of Pibor forced the suspension of
some of MSF’s medical programs in the area.
“We simply cannot
turn a blind eye to incidents like these or start believing that
they are in anyway normal, despite the alarming frequency with
which they have occurred,” Marie Cleret, MSF Head of Mission
said in a statement issued in Juba.
consisting of an MSF vehicle, a tractor and a team of four staff
members, was en route to conduct a medical assessment in a
nearby village when it was ambushed by a group of armed men
speaking the local language.
The medical charity
said two members of the team were beaten, leaving them with
“The team’s personal
affairs were stolen, alongside MSF property, including the
team’s vehicle. The team was then left temporarily stranded, but
was able to return to MSF’s facility in Pibor later the same
evening,” it said.
MSF, which is the
only humanitarian organization providing healthcare in Pibor,
Lekongole and Gumuruk, said the latest attack represents yet
another serious risk to its ability to safely provide medical
care in Pibor.
“People are heavily
reliant on the assistance we provide for their survival, and are
already incredibly vulnerable due to the ongoing conflict,”
incident, MSF said it had no choice but to suspend part of its
outreach activity in Pibor, due to the increasing insecurity of
traveling by road.
This is the third
attack on MSF’s medical facilities in Pibor in the past nine
months which has forced MSF to suspend the provision of
much-needed medical care.
The attack comes
just days after the charity called for the need to protect
civilians and respect their access to medical care in South
Sudan. Over the past 18 months, 24 MSF facilities and assets
have been attacked in the country.
“MSF again calls on
all armed actors to protect civilians and refrain from targeting
medical facilities, which deprives people of a vital lifeline
when they absolutely need it most,” said Cleret.
“This incident puts
the local population even further out of the reach of lifesaving
According to the UN,
over 80 aid workers have been killed in South Sudan since the
beginning of the December 2013 crisis, including at least 12
killed in 2017, and at least eight humanitarian convoys have
been attacked already this year.
Humanitarian Law, intentional attacks against humanitarian
relief personnel may constitute war crimes.