UN condemns looting of humanitarian assets in South Sudan

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JUBA, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Peter Van der Auweraert, acting UN humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, on Wednesday condemned a targeted attack and looting of humanitarian assets outside the UN Compound in Bor in South Sudan's central region.

Auweraert said in a statement issued in the South Sudanese capital of Juba that a large armed group on motorbikes looted five trucks loaded with food supplies on Tuesday.

The trucks were loaded with 100 metric tons of World Food Programme (WFP) food assistance, enough to feed more than 11,000 people for one month and to support those in most need living in Twic East County, according to the statement.

"All looting of humanitarian assets and attacks on humanitarian facilities is utterly unacceptable. Humanitarians save lives and must be able to safely deliver life-saving supplies to those in need," Auweraert said.

He said almost seven metric tons of the food were looted in the attack, forcing the WFP to pause movements out of Bor for the third time this year.

Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP Representative to South Sudan, said the UN agency has been grappling with a significant number of attacks on its convoys this year, as it provides humanitarian aid to people in urgent need of assistance.

"To have lorries (trucks) attacked on the perimeter of the UN compound is beyond unacceptable and we have no choice but to pause operations out of Bor until the safety and security of our staff and assets can be assured," McGroarty said.

She said a pause in movements out of Bor will have an impact on more than a million people in Jonglei and Pibor, many of whom are women and children relying on the assistance WFP provides.

According to the UN, the Sudan crisis puts an additional strain on the humanitarian response as humanitarian organizations are redirecting their limited resources toward the new emergency to address the most critical needs of the newly arriving vulnerable returnees and refugees.

Auweraert said soaring prices, disruption of supply chains, and a lack of basic services are negatively impacting the already overstretched humanitarian response. Looting of humanitarian assistance further compounds the problem faced by the neediest.

There have been several violent acts against humanitarian personnel and assets since the beginning of the year, according to the UN. Enditem

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