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WFP deplores air attack on food distribution site in southern Sudan

WFP deplores air attack on food distribution site in southern Sudan

The United Nations food agency today deplored an air attack on a food distribution site in southern Sudan that killed two children and injured a dozen civilians.

In a statement issued in Nairobi, the World Food Programme (WFP) strongly condemned the bombing of civilians in the town of Akuem, where the agency had just finished distributing food to 18,000 people suffering from drought and insecurity.

“The loss of innocent lives, particularly children, is totally unacceptable,” said Abdoulaye Balde, the WFP operations manager for southern Sudan.

On Sunday, an aircraft dropped six bombs on Akuem, killing a 12-year-old girl and another child. About a dozen more people were injured. WFP uses the town as a food distribution site, and three of the bombs landed directly on the WFP food drop zone. Just three hours earlier, WFP staff had finished distributing 77 tonnes of food from the site, and had departed to a nearby base.

“The fact that the incident coincided with humanitarian operations on the ground and endangered potentially a greater number of civilians and relief staff, makes the act even more of a concern,” Mr. Balde said.

Sunday’s attack is the fourth in drought-stricken Akuem since May 2001. The previous bombardment occurred in November last year, killing a number of people.