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WFP demands safe release of staff abducted in S. Sudan

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November 20, 2014 (JUBA) – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has demanded the safe release of its abducted staff member Mark Diang, who was taken at gunpoint from Malakal airport on 16 October by a group of men in plain clothes.

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Food distribution at refugee site in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state (Photo: WFP/Ahnna Gudmunds)

“It’s been more than a month since Mark was seized, and we still have no word of his whereabouts or well-being,” WFP country director Joyce Luma said.

“We are gravely worried about Mark’s safety, and we will not rest until he’s been found,” he added.

In recent weeks, Upper Nile state has been tense with clashes reported among the internally displaced persons living in the UN protection of civilian sites.

Despite the situation, however, WFP said it is reassessing its security arrangements in parts of the country, to ensure that its staff can operate safely.

“This requires temporarily restricting operations in some areas while seeking renewed security assurances from authorities so emergency teams can continue providing urgently needed food assistance in communities isolated by conflict,” the agency said.

“To bring urgently needed food assistance to hungry people affected by conflict, our staff are working in difficult and dangerous conditions, but we cannot also ask them to risk their lives to do so,” its statement added.

Currently, hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese civilians rely on WFP food assistance to survive as the conflict has disrupted food production and food markets.

Meanwhile, WFP reminded all parties to the conflict of their responsibility, under international law, to protect the lives and safety of humanitarian workers.

Tens of thousands have been killed and millions displaced since violence erupted in the country late last year with aid agencies warning of famine should fighting rage on.

(ST)

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  • 21 November 2014 09:10, by Rami Tot

    Mark Diang is known killed by the shiluk militias already the fact that can UN agent talk on is to hand over those killers for the accountability held them responsible for that crime committed plus those killed thrown into water.

    repondre message

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