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UN Envoy Condemns Killing Of Sudanese Aid Workers


UN Envoy Condemns Killing Of Sudanese Aid Workers

The top United Nations envoy for Sudan today condemned the killing of two Sudanese aid workers and the kidnapping of another when their vehicle was attacked near the eastern town of Kassala.

In a statement released today, Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Sudan, said "all perpetrators of such hideous acts shall be accountable for their crimes," and urged all parties to provide information on the whereabouts of the missing member of the Sudanese Red Crescent (SRC).

The statement condemned the attack Sunday on an SRC convoy, in which the driver and a nurse died on the spot from their wounds while another staff member was severely injured. The fourth member of the group is still missing. All are Sudanese nationals.

"On behalf of the United Nations organizations, Mr. Pronk extends his condolences to the families of the victims," the statement said. It also reiterated the obligation of all parties and individuals to abide by the provisions of international humanitarian law, particularly those relating to the safety and neutrality of humanitarian personnel.

In other news, Mr. Pronk will begin a three-day visit tomorrow to Kassala, Juba and Malakal. He is expected to meet with the local authorities, the agencies operating on the ground as well as with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and representatives of the local community. He plans to brief his interlocutors on the preparations for the deployment of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

Yesterday while in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr. Pronk met with former President Daniel arap Moi and they discussed the recent South-South dialogue as well as the follow-up of the dialogue to ensure wider adherence by other parties to the comprehensive peace agreement between the Government and rebels in the south, and more inclusiveness of the talks.

Meanwhile, UN agencies continued their work in the western Darfur region amid reports that the security situation was still fluid there. In West Darfur, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that it was monitoring meningitis following three confirmed cases in Riyad, Adamata and Abusourug camps.

The UN's interagency assessment to North Darfur was completed on 27 April, and the team was expected to finalize its report early by next week. Preliminary findings include an acute shortage of water especially in the areas controlled by the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). General recommendations include interventions on water, food aid, seeds/tools, shelter/non-food items, market interventions and protection.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that thousands of south Sudanese were fleeing their homes to escape brutal raids on their villages by the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The attacks have spread in recent months along the eastern shores of the Nile River from the northern Ugandan town of Adjumani across the border into south Sudan, where rebel activity appears to be on the increase in a triangle bounded by Nimule, Juba and Torit.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) will today begin pre-testing health and peacebuilding messages for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the capital Khartoum who may return to the south. UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Information Network Committees supported by IOM in the four official IDP camps will pre-test message sheets covering guinea worm, re-building communities and HIV/AIDS. Once completed, these and other information sheets will be disseminated by NGOs and other groups to help IDPs to make informed decisions about returning to the south.

UNICEF, the National AIDS Programme and the Ministry of Higher Education finalized on Tuesday plans to orient 70,000 young men who will participate in this year's National Service Training on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

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