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ICRC demands access to those wounded in S. Sudan town

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October 7, 2017 (JUBA) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday expressed concern about the fate of people wounded in the fighting around Waat, in South Sudan’s Bieh state, and requested all sides to allow the wounded access to health care.

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People receive food aid and other vital supplies from the International Committee of the Red Cross in South Sudan’s Lakes state on 8 January 2014 (Photo: AFP/Nichole Sobecki)

ICRC, in a statement, reminded all sides involved in the South Sudanese conflict to to respect and protect those not taking part in the fighting, including wounded combatants.

“The ICRC has been able to evacuate several wounded combatants so far and we stand ready to do it again. We are discussing with all sides to the conflict to ensure that the wounded have access to the medical assistance they are entitled to,” ICRC’s head of delegation in South Sudan, Francois Stamm said.

Fresh clashes erupted early this week between government forces and rebels loyal to the country’s former deputy president Riek Machar known as SPLA-IO, which left over 90 killed and dozens injured, according to the South Sudan army (SPLA).

The SPLA spokesman, Lul Ruai Koang, however, blamed the opposition fighters for obstructing evacuation efforts by the ICRC on Wednesday, alleging that rebel fighters fired shells at the airstrip as the ICRC team tried to evacuate their wounded soldiers.

Lam Paul Gabriel, Deputy Spokesman of the rebels denied all the accusations, saying that the government is trying to restrict the ICRC to only rescue wounded government soldiers and leave out the rebels.

“Fighting is still ongoing and we are in full control of the airstrip. But the government is putting the ICRC under huge pressure not to assist our fighters, which is not acceptable,” Gabriel told Xinhua by phone.

The Red Cross said since the beginning of 2017, they have evacuated more than 590 people wounded in fighting and other situations of violence across South Sudan, and it has treated a total of 1,046 people affected by the conflict.

“We remind all parties involved in the fighting about their obligation to allow the war wounded prompt access to medical assistance,” Stamm said.

“There are rules in war and it is crucial that international humanitarian law (IHL) be respected and that those affected by the fighting are protected,” he added.

South Sudan has been embroiled in more than three years of conflict that has have taken a devastating toll on the people of South Sudan. Over 2 million people have fled South Sudan since conflict erupted in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir sacked Riek Machar from the vice-presidency.

(ST)

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  • 9 October 07:17, by Kuch

    I don’t think the government of South Sudan would afford to stoop low and prevent any wounded enemy soldier under it care from being taken by ICRC for treatment. Even during our war with our arch enemy, North Sudan. The SPLA were strictly instructed to not harm any enemy soldier that had surrendered, wounded & not a threat to anyone. And that was why many North Sudanese POWs were released in 2005>

    repondre message

    • 9 October 07:23, by Kuch

      >>>after CPA. My own self was taken by the ICRC to Lokichogio, Lupiding hospital for treatment when l was injured in 2002 in Kapoeta. But some of Riek Machar idiots do not know that ICRC works for everyone in war situations

      repondre message

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