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Jonglei: MSF treats civilians wounded in Akobo county attack

February 14, 2013 (JUBA) - International medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says it has started providing medical services to people in the aftermath of last week’s attack in Akobo West county of South Sudan’s Jonglei state, in which more than 100 people died.

In a statement, MSF said at least 13 patients are receiving treatment in two health facilities in neighbouring Upper Nile state, except for one, who reportedly sustained gunshot wounds.

Most of the patients, it added, are women and children, including a 34-year-old pregnant woman and a three-year-old child, all with gunshot wounds.

MSF said a separate team is currently in Ulang county in neighbouring Upper Nile state - where a large number of people fled following the attack - identifying wounded people in the area, as well as stabilising patients at a healthcare facility there.

“Right now, it is not clear just how many more wounded people are hiding in the bush who have not yet been able to access medical care”, said Michiel van Tongeren, MSF project coordinator in Nasir, Upper Nile state.

“We are trying to find them and refer them to our hospital in Nasir for treatment,” he added.

Van Tongeren said efforts were underway to establish mobile clinics in order to identify more wounded people and provide medical care for the vulnerable population who survived last week’s violence.

A group of armed Murle youth and militias fighting in the region are believed to have carried out the gruesome attack, Jonglei state officials said.

A report released by MSF in November last year detailed the devastating impact of extreme violence on the lives and health of civilians in South Sudan’s most populous state.

“It is not only the direct consequences of violence, such as gunshot wounds, that we are concerned about”, Raphael Gorgeu, MSF’s head of mission in South Sudan said in reaction to last week’s incident.

“Our experience working in Jonglei shows that there are less visible, but equally serious, indirect consequences. Entire communities have to flee for their lives deep into the bush. Without shelter, food or safe drinking water, they are susceptible to malaria, pneumonia, malnutrition and diarrhoea”, he added.

(ST)