August 6, 2014 (JUBA) – The United Nations-secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, has condemned in the “strongest” terms recent killings of five South Sudanese employees of non-governmental organisations in Maban county, Upper Nile state.
- UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon (UN)
His deputy spokesperson said Ban had also expressed deep concerns at the dire humanitarian situation across country as the conflict enters its eighth month.
“The secretary-general demands that the relevant authorities conduct a full investigation into these tragic events. He calls on all armed forces and groups in South Sudan to do their utmost to keep relief personnel and civilians safe from harm,” said Farhan Haq in a statement.
The UN chief also reiterated that a military option was no solution to the crisis in South Sudan, calling upon the parties to immediately cease their military operations and demonstrate the political will to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Thousands have already been killed and over a million displaced in the conflict, which initially started in the capital, Juba, but later extended to three of the country’s Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states.
However, while the secretary-general welcomed Monday’s resumption of the talks in Addis Ababa under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), he reportedly urged the parties to “seriously” and fully engage in a meaningful dialogue, to tangibly advance the political process.
Ban called on both warring parties to implement without further delay the agreements they signed on 23 January and recommitted to on 9 May, specifically citing the cessation of hostilities deal.
The secretary-general has also welcomed the planned visit of the UN Security Council to South Sudan and the region this month, saying it will bring international attention to the dire humanitarian situation and the plight of the South Sudanese people.
“It will further signal to the leadership of both parties the significance the Security Council places on the peaceful resolution of this conflict,” said Ban.
Toby Lanzer, the UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, said that Maban, where some 127,000 refugees from Sudan are living, has seen increasing violence and harassment of civilians and aid workers, jeopardising lives of tens of thousands of men, women and children who count on aid organisations for their survival.
On Monday, a local staffer working for the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) was also shot and killed in Maban after allegedly being pulled out of the organisation’s vehicle by armed groups.