JOHANNESBURG (AP) — An ambush on a humanitarian aid convoy in South Sudan has killed two people and wounded three, the International Organization for Migration said Thursday, in the latest hostility to outsiders trying to address the triple crisis of famine, cholera and civil war.
"Unknown armed gunmen" targeted the convoy as it was returning from a field mission in Yirol East county, the agency said in a statement that condemned the attack. IOM staff, health workers and civilians were the victims. Two died of gunshot wounds, and an IOM health officer was in stable condition.
The ambush took place in a region suffering from a cholera outbreak, the statement said. Famine was declared last month in two other counties of South Sudan, which has been devastated by three years of civil war.
The United Nations and aid groups have pleaded for more access to deliver humanitarian aid amid numerous government restrictions. Those include a sharp increase this month in the fees required for foreigners to work in the country, from roughly $100 to up to $10,000.
Both government troops and rebels have been accused of attacking, detaining or harassing aid workers, including members of the U.N. peacekeeping mission.
Earlier this week, South Sudanese staffers with the U.S.-based aid group Samaritan's Purse were detained for a day by "armed personnel" before being released.
South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, fell into civil war just two years after it won its independence from Sudan in 2011. Tens of thousands have been killed, and more than 1.5 million have fled the country, creating Africa's largest refugee crisis.