FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The United States condemns in the strongest terms the targeting and killing of at least six humanitarian workers, in Maban County, South Sudan, reportedly on ethnic grounds. We extend our condolences to the families who have lost loved ones and, more broadly, to the people of South Sudan who are suffering daily the devastating effects of an entirely man-made crisis.
More than four million people in South Sudan are on the verge of famine and since mid-December the ongoing violence has driven over 1.5 million people from their homes. Given the tremendous need for humanitarian assistance, all parties, especially the Government of South Sudan, must protect humanitarian workers delivering life-saving aid to those in need. In addition, as the United States has conveyed directly to South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, the perpetrators of yesterday's appalling murders must be found and brought to justice.
The responsibility for halting the violence and mitigating the humanitarian catastrophe rests with South Sudan’s leaders. We urge President Kiir and Riek Machar to implement fully the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed on January 23, and to engage far more energetically in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-mediated talks in Ethiopia.
All parties to the conflict must respect UN facilities, UN staff and other humanitarian workers, and halt all attacks on civilians. There is no military solution to this crisis. It is long past time for South Sudan’s political and military leaders to recognize this fact and begin the essential work of meeting the dire needs of their people.
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