7 August 2009 The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today expressed fears of a wave of deadly retaliatory attacks on the heels of the massacre of more than 100 people in southern Sudan earlier over the weekend.
“WFP and its partners have called on the Government to put an end to inter-tribal fighting, which is endangering the delivery of humanitarian aid,” UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters.
Yesterday, the Security Council condemned the “grave attacks” in Akobo in Jonglei state that killed at least 185 people, including over 100 women and children. At least 60 people from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) were also reported dead as a result of the attacks, which took place on Sunday.
Ambassador John Sawers of the United Kingdom, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, said the attacks were especially concerning given that they seemed to target women and children and involved the use of sophisticated weaponry.
In a statement issued earlier this week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern at the latest “heinous” surge in violence in southern Sudan, the scene of one of Africa’s longest and bloodiest civil wars.
At least 2 million people were killed, 4 million others uprooted and 600,000 more fled across the borders until a peace agreement in 2005 ended the 20 years of fighting between southern separatists and the national Government in the north.
A referendum on independence for the south is expected to be held in 2011, following national elections next year.
More recently, violence has flared periodically from various quarters, with some 700 people have been killed since March in the region while another 19,000 have been uprooted, Ms. Okabe said today.
The Secretary-General warned last month that escalating inter-tribal fighting was jeopardizing the stability of the entire country and putting at risk key milestones in implementing the 2005 pact, known as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Attacks by the notorious Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), have also wrought havoc in border regions in the south.
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