South Sudan: At least 75 people killed including three children as violence surges in Abyei

At least 75 people, including three children, have been killed and 2,200 displaced in two weeks of brutal violence in the Abyei Special Administrative Area between communities, but the actual number of those killed could be much higher, said Save the Children.

Save the Children teams are seeing a dangerous spike in violence, which is leading to widespread displacement and compromising the safety and well-being of innocent children and women. The violence has not only hindered the aid agency’s ability to reach those in need, but it has also created an environment of fear and uncertainty, making it even more difficult for families to access essential services.

The first major attack took place on 27 January and led to 52 deaths, according to a UN report. The violent attacks also resulted in dozens of injuries, kidnappings, the burning of villages and theft of cattle.

Sporadic attacks since then have slowed down or cut off affected communities from humanitarian aid, with incidents of looting of health and nutrition supplies reported including lifesaving nutrition supplies for children in Rumamer health facility.

The most recent attack on Sunday killed at least 23 civilians, including three children and four women, and injured another 18 people, including two children, according to the government of Abyei Special Administrative Area and UN reports.

Jib Pornpun Rabiltossaporn, Save the Children Country Director in South Sudan, said:

“It’s been a very difficult time for children and their families in Abyei. No child should ever be attacked or killed. For those that have survived but have been wounded, they will live with the physical and psychological scars for the rest of their lives.

“We appeal to the government, the United Nations Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), and all key actors to act promptly and collectively to protect civilians and restore peace. The volatile situation requires collective action to ensure the safety and protection of the impacted communities, especially the vulnerable children who suffer the brunt of the violence and displacement.”

Save the Children is implementing an integrated primary health care and nutrition project in Abyei Administrative Area with funding from the European Union Humanitarian Aid. The program targets population of about 123,648 people, providing free lifesaving primary healthcare and nutrition integrated with Mental Health Psychosocial Support and Gender Based Violence services. Save the Children is also working to strengthen the capacity of the local health system to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks of common range of endemic diseases, contributing to a reduction in cases of common killer diseases among children under 5 years such as diarrhea, Malaria, and Pneumonia according to Health Officials. Save the Children also supports education sector for the crisis affected girls and boys under Education Cannot Wait program. Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is a global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

Save the Children has been working with and for children, their families, and communities in South Sudan since 1991. In 2023, Save the Children reached over 1.9 million people in South Sudan, including over 1.1 million children, through its various programs focused on health, nutrition, education, child protection, food security and livelihoods, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Save the Children.

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