S.Sudan gunmen loot church, MSF facilities

12
2095

Thieves broke into Juba Christian Centre (JCC) in the capital Juba on Tuesday and stole 33,500 US dollars and 310,000 South Sudanese Pounds.

The JCC is located in Buluk about 150 meters from the Buluk junction along the road to University of Juba.

The church deputy secretary general Mustafa Maring told Radio Tamazuj that the thieves stole an amount of 33,000 USD, 310,000 SSP and other equipment after breaking into offices at night.

Maring said the money was kept in the church offices in order to pay contractors who were building new churches in Jonglei State.

The church leader further said the stolen amount of 310,000 SSP was meant for school services and other church activities in the capital Juba.

He pointed out that they have reported what happened to police authorities in Juba, pointing out that four suspects including two watchmen who were on duty on the same night were arrested.

Bishop Michael Taban, a member of JCC church, also confirmed the incident describing it as a surprise to them as church members.

However, South Sudan’s Police Spokesperson, Daniel Justin said he has not received any report about the theft.

24 MSF facilities damaged, looted

The head of Doctors Without Borders said armed groups have looted two dozen of the aid group’s medical facilities in South Sudan during the past 18 months, and is demanding the government provide better protection.

Joanne Liu is international president of the group, known by its French acronym MSF.

She spoke to South Sudan in Focus after a trip to the country where she toured MSF facilities and met with President Salva Kiir.

Liu said the sad truth is that rather than protect medical facilities, warring parties in South Sudan will often target them.

After visiting the town of Waul Shiluk, where she saw a destroyed MSF facility up close, she said she told Kiir and other top officials that the looting and destruction of medical facilities in South Sudan is costing lives.

“It’s just a reflection of the violence that is happening and what it does, as the biggest consequence, it’s depriving people of health care when it’s most needed,” Liu said.

MSF medical facilities have also destroyed been in places like Pibor, Leer, and Kodok, but Liu said the level of destruction she saw in Wau Shiluk was chilling.

“We had to take a boat for half an hour, then we had to walk for half an hour. It was clear to me when I went there and walked through Wau Shiluk that it has been completely burned down and looted. Our facility, which was a PHCC [primary health care center] of 30 beds, is completely gone,” Liu said.

Not pulling out

Despite rampant insecurity across South Sudan, mired in the fourth year of a war between pro-Kiir and anti-Kiir forces, Liu said her organization has no plans of pulling out.

“MSF is deeply committed to stay and work here in South Sudan, stand by the civilian population and offer as much as we can,” she said.

“For us, it’s absolutely imperative that all parties to the conflict respect and protect civilians and people must be allowed to have access to life-saving services.”

Government responds

Kir spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told VOA on Thursday that the government is committed to protecting services like MSF.

“[W]e always observe the fact that we have to make sure we protect the medical facilities of the organizations that are helping our people,” he said.

He said any damage to medical facilities caused by government forces was “inadvertent” and happened as soldiers defended themselves.

Source: Tamazuj/Voice of America

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