Sudan: UN condemns reported killing of de-miners by Ugandan rebels

Sudan: UN condemns reported killing of de-miners by Ugandan rebels

The United Nations special envoy to Sudan condemned the killing of two de-miners working for a Swiss group in an alleged ambush in South Sudan today by the Lord Resistance Army (LRA).

The two men, employees of the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action, were driving along the Juba-Nimule road in a three-vehicle convoy when they were stopped by three men, ordered out of the vehicle, and killed. The two following vehicles turned around and took refuge in the Sudanese Armed Forces camp farther south.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan, Jan Pronk, expressed his outrage at the “cowardly” killings and urged a speedy investigation into the circumstances of the attack, to identify the perpetrators, and to bring them to justice.

The slain workers were under the employ of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), and were assigned with clearing vital roads of mines in the area to ensure the safety of returnees, and the use of the roads by the UN and its partners, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said. Preliminary reports indicate that two armed Sudanese Army soldiers were also wounded during the interchange.

Mr. Pronk also called on the Sudanese Government and the Government of South Sudan to exert every effort to ensure the safety and security of all humanitarian workers, and to expedite joint action to contain small armed groups still active in South Sudan, including the LRA.

Security continues to be an issue of concern in South Sudan with banditry and looting in the area, said UNMIS which has been reporting a growing tension there since the middle of September. On 25 October, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Anto·nio Guterres told reporters that the security situation in the country had deteriorated sharply, with aid workers increasingly the focus of attacks, seriously hampering humanitarian workers. UNMIS also reported on 19 October the continued extortion and forced conscription of returnees by local militias in the war-torn country.