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U.N. decries death of Bangladeshi peacekeeper in South Sudan attack

U.N. decries death of Bangladeshi peacekeeper in South Sudan attack

South Sudan

A peacekeeper from Bangladesh was killed on Tuesday when unidentified gunmen ambushed a humanitarian convoy on a road in South Sudan, the United Nations mission in the country said.

The UNMISS said its convoy was attacked on Tuesday by armed groups in the Central Equatorian region of South Sudan, while it was supporting the delivery of humanitarian aid to vulnerable civilians in the areas.

Bangladeshi Military Liaison Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ashraf Siddiqui, was part of a convoy led by Nepalese peacekeepers providing protection to humanitarian workers travelling from the town of Yei to Lasu when he was killed.

It is a tragedy that he lost his life in such an appalling act of violence while working to help those in need and to protect the lives of others.

“Several shots were fired at the group by unknown gunmen,” the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said in a statement. The peacekeepers returned fire and the attackers fled into the forest.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, expressed his deep regret at the tragic loss of life and condemned the actions of the armed group.

“It is a tragedy that he lost his life in such an appalling act of violence while working to help those in need and to protect the lives of others,” said David Shearer.

“Peacekeepers and aid workers should be able to carry out their work freely and safely and not be subjected to the kind of senseless attack we have witnessed today.”

South Sudan slid into violence in late 2013 when President Salva Kiir broke with his then deputy Riek Machar, leading to violent clashes between government troops and those aligned to Machar. The ensuing conflict has killed ten thousands people and displaced 2.5 million people from their homes.

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UN mission in South Sudan is hosting thousands of vulnerable civilians’ seeking protection in its base across the country.

Both government and rebel forces are present in the area where the attack happened. There was no immediate comment from the government. Lam Paul Gabriel, deputy spokesman of the opposition SPLM-IO, said rebel troops did not attack aid convoys.

Deng Machol, Africanews Correspondent

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