The UN top relief official in South Sudan on Saturday called for immediate end to increasing attacks on both humanitarian workers and civilians.

Eugene Owusu, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, also demanded that warring parties to the conflict uphold their responsibilities to protect civilians and ensure the safety and security of humanitarians.”These attacks are reprehensible and unacceptable. I call on those in power to take swift action to end the targeting of innocent people in this conflict and to hold those responsible to account,” Owusu said in a statement issued in Juba.He said the UN has received reports of outrageous abuses against humanitarians by both state and opposition actors in the past week in Upper Nile, as well as reports of horrific attacks against civilians in Eastern Equatoria.

According to Owusu, two serious attacks were carried out against aid workers in Upper Nile since March 31 and in Aburoc, humanitarians were harassed and beaten by members of armed opposition forces, while in Melut, state security officials detained and beat two aid workers before releasing them.”I condemn these attacks in the strongest terms. I demand that the leadership on both sides investigates these incidents with a view to holding the specific perpetrators to account, as well as ending the targeting of humanitarians in the future,” said Owusu.

The humanitarian situation in South Sudan continues to deteriorate with over 3.5 million people having now been forced to flee their homes, including nearly 1.9 million people who are internally displaced and more than 1.7 million who have fled as refugees to neighbouring countries.An average of 2,000 South Sudanese refugees are arriving into Uganda each day, over 62 percent of whom are children, according to the UN.”Humanitarians are in this country to save lives. It is beyond reckoning that they continue to be killed, harassed and abused despite our repeated calls for action,” said Owusu.He called on South Sudan leadership to investigate insecurity incidents in Pajok, Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria, where at least 6,000 people have been forced to flee to Uganda and reportedly several dozen have been killed, following an attack by government forces on the town.

Source: Xinhua/