14 February 2013

South Sudan: Jonglei - MSF Treats Civilians Wounded in Akobo County Attack

Juba — The international medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says it started providing medical services to people in the aftermath of last week's attack South Sudan's Jonglei state county of Akobo West, in which more than 100 people died.

At least 13 patients, MSF said in a statement, are receiving treatment in two health facilities in neighbouring Upper Nile state, apart from one of them who reportedly sustained gunshot wounds.

Most of the patients, it added, are women and children, including a 34-year old pregnant woman and a three-year-old child, all with gunshot wounds.

A separate team, MSF said, is currently in Ulang County the area identifying wounded people in the area as well as stabilising patients in healthcare facility. Ulang is the area to which a large number of people fled following the attack.

"Right now, it is not clear just how many more wounded people are hiding in the bush who have not yet been able to access medical care", said Michiel van Tongeren, MSF project coordinator in Nasir, Upper Nile state.

"We are trying to find them and refer them to our hospital in Nasir for treatment," he added.

Efforts, van Tongeren, said are underway to start carrying out mobile clinics in order to identify more wounded people and provide medical care for the vulnerable population who survived last week's violence.

A group of of armed Murle youth and militias fighting in the region, Jonglei state officials said, carried out the gruesome attack.

In November last year, a report released by MSF, detailed the devastating impact of extreme violence on the lives and health of civilians in South Sudan's most populous state.

"It is not only the direct consequences of violence, such as gunshot wounds, that we are concerned about", Raphael Gorgeu, MSF Head of Mission in South Sudan said in reaction to last week's incident in Jonglei.

"Our experience working in Jonglei shows that there are less visible, but equally serious, indirect consequences. Entire communities have to flee for their lives deep into the bush. Without shelter, food or safe drinking water, they are susceptible to malaria, pneumonia, malnutrition and diarrhea", he added.

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