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JUBA - 12 Sep 2017

ICRC halts operations in Western Equatoria after its staff killed

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Tuesday it has suspended operations in South Sudan's Western Equatoria region after gunmen killed its driver while returning from an assistance operation in the area last week.

Aida Khamis, a public communications officer for ICRC in South Sudan, told Radio Tamazuj they have temporally halted operations in the Equatoria region to carry out investigations into the killings of Lukudu Kennedy when a convoy of nine trucks and a four-wheel-drive vehicle was shot at by unidentified gunmen while returning from Western Equatoria on Friday.

"Now we are investigating the incident and after the investigations we will resume work and activities in the area,” said Khamis.

She appealed to South Sudan’s warring parties to protect aid workers across the country under international humanitarian law.

The United Nations says South Sudan has become a hostile environment for aid workers. Since the outbreak of civil war in the East African country in 2013, more than 80 aid workers have been killed, including 16 this year alone.

Since the outbreak of civil war 2013, at least 82 humanitarian workers have been killed, including 17 this year, most of them South Sudanese, according to the world body.