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UN Outraged by Looting of Humanitarian Supplies in South Sudan

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 5 2014 (IPS) - The United Nations has responded with outrage and disappointment at the recent looting of humanitarian supplies in South Sudan. The issue has drawn serious attention after South Sudanese SPLA government forces were photographed wearing UNICEF backpacks slung over the same shoulders as their firearms, and U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) warehouses, along with many other humanitarian locations, have been raided.

“A large amount of UNICEF supplies, along with humanitarian supplies from other organisations as well as stores from schools and hospitals, have been looted in many locations during the conflict in South Sudan,” said UNICEF Spokesperson Sarah Crowe.

“We will certainly be pursing this with the government in Juba,” said Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, referring to the stolen backpack incident as “outrageous and sad”. Though “this is not the first time this has happened,” he continued.

The looting of humanitarian supplies in conflict zones is not unprecedented. During the conflicts in Mali and the Central African Republic, hospitals, schools and other locations containing international humanitarian aid have become the target of raids and lootings.

“You cannot absolutely prevent [such looting], because the only way to prevent would be to stop doing everything that we can,” said Lake, “we are staying, and we are delivering, and working in the toughest places in South Sudan for the sake of the children and the population.”

Nevertheless, despite an understanding of the unfortunate reality in South Sudan, the U.N. has stated that cooperative efforts between UNICEF and the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have begun to protect aid resources.

“In vulnerable locations where normal security precautions are not sufficient, supplies [are being placed] in mobile storage units that have been set up within UNMISS compounds, and therefore, in more secure locations,” said a UNSG spokesperson on February 4th, 2014. “It’s obvious that UNICEF will be seeking assistance from UNMISS to help to secure supplies that belong in the hands of children and not in the hands of soldiers or other combatants.”

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  • Sudan/South Sudan Awareness

    Interesting read! Keep the articles coming Jean!

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