SUDAN (OBSERVATORY) – A convoy of 10 aid workers has been lost in the war-torn southwest of the country, likely to be abducted, the United Nations Mission in Southern Sudan (UNMIS) said on Thursday.
The convoy disappeared after leaving the town of Yee in central Equatorial Guinea early on Wednesday for Toure, according to a statement by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“We are very concerned about the whereabouts of these humanitarian workers and urgently ask for information about them,” said Alan Nodio, a humanitarian aid official in southern Sudan.
Aid workers have often been targeted during the four-year civil war in southern Sudan.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and forced millions to flee, and millions more are on the verge of famine.
“This is the second incident involving the detention of aid workers by armed groups in April alone and the third in six months,” the UN office said in a statement.
“These people, UN staff and non-governmental organizations, are here to help the people of southern Sudan and should not be targeted,” said the statement, “Our colleagues must be released unconditionally so that their work can continue.”
He said the 10 missing workers were all South Sudanese nationals, including staff at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Southern Sudan Development Organization, the Christian Relief Group of Akros and Plan International and Action Africa Helip.