The International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday it was suspending its activities across a third of war-torn South Sudan, just days after one of its aid workers was gunned down on a trip back from delivering aid.
Lukudu Kennedy Laki Emmanuel, a driver for the ICRC, was traveling in a convoy of vehicles in Western Equatoria over the weekend when he was shot by attackers the ICRC called “unknown assailants.”
“The ICRC will not resume anything until we have a clear picture of exactly what happened and until we receive the necessary security guarantees,” a spokeswoman for the ICRC. Mari Mortvedt, told Reuters. “The security of the ICRC staff is top priority.”
The civil war in landlocked South Sudan between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army loyal to President Salva Kiir and and opposition forces has dragged on for over three years, racking up an estimated death toll of tens of thousands. Six million people are severely food insecure, according to the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs. The number of South Sudanese who became refugees reached its peak this August with two million people seeking shelter, according to the U.N.
At least 17 humanitarian aid workers have been killed so far this year in South Sudan and 84 since the start of the conflict in December 2013. South Sudan was the most deadly place to deliver aid in 2017, according to the Aid Worker Security Database, which tracks victims across the world.