A truck driver and his assistant been murdered delivering food aid in Southern Sudan, bringing to five the number of people killed in attacks on transports of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Sudan in less than three weeks, the agency announced today.
Hamid Dafaalla, 47, a father of four, was shot dead by unknown assailants while returning from a food delivery to the town of Rumbek on Monday, 7 April. His assistant was shot while trying to flee.
"We are shocked and saddened by this heartless killing," WFP Sudan Deputy-Director Ebenezer Tagoe said, calling attacks against vehicles delivering humanitarian assistance "completely unacceptable."
"We have met representatives of the Government of Southern Sudan and they have promised a full investigation," he reported.
The attack occurred six kilometres from Mayom in Unity State, not far from where two WFP-contracted drivers were stabbed to death on 22 March. Another contracted driver was shot dead two days later and his assistant injured while delivering food to Nyala in South Darfur.
WFP said that attacks have slowed food deliveries in violence-torn Darfur, where it is feeding over two million internally displaced persons and refugees.
In Southern Sudan, the killings jeopardize the ability of the agency to provide food to people returning home after the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) ended the long-running north-south civil war, and threatens the pre-positioning of food assistance ahead of the May rainy season.
Since the start of the year there were 60 hijackings of trucks in Darfur, with 42 trucks missing and 29 drivers unaccounted for, in addition to the recent killings, the agency said.