South Sudan: several villages attacked on the border with Congo

The MSF teams are proving care to the victims of violence

Last week, several villages in South Sudan and neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were attacked by an armed group. Violence resulted in several people killed and injured and the displacement of civilians. According to the survivors, the attackers also kidnapped one hundred students. The MSF teams have travelled to the area and are proving care to the victims.

"Last September 20, 12 injured people were assisted at the Ministry of Health clinic supported by MSF in the village of Sakure", explains Héctor Fonseca, MSF General Coordinator in South Sudan. In the attack on Sakure, the attackers killed two people and 12 children were kidnapped, food reserves were looted and several houses and vehicles burnt down. An MSF team managed to rapidly reach the area and has already distributed plastic sheeting for shelter, soap, jerry cans and food supplements to the affected people.

The day before this attack in the afternoon, three villages in neighbouring DRC were attacked causing the displacement of thousands of people who took shelter in Sudan. About 2.000 of them arrived in Sakure. Another group arrived at Gangura, a village in South Sudan where MSF is supporting another health centre, in search of care. "In Gangura, where the number of consultations has doubled, we are conducting the largest intervention providing care to the refugees and the injured" adds Fonseca. According to official records, yet to be confirmed, this group would also amount to 2.000 refugees; some of them have taken shelter at the village church. According to the survivors, at least 20 people were killed in the attack, houses were burnt down and about 100 students were kidnapped. The refugees also confirmed that several people who had been severely injured stayed behind in the three villages without access to the nearest hospital.

Following the attacks, MSF has reopened its two clinics in Sakure and Gangura to provide care to the victims while regular activities at the centres go on. Furthermore, an MSF team has travelled to Gangura carrying emergency supplies to implement mobile clinics on the border with DRC and thus reach more affected people.

In South Sudan, MSF is implementing primary healthcare projects. In Yambio, in Western Equatoria province, a sleeping sickness project opened in October 2006, focusing on raising awareness amongst the community and detecting cases. In addition, since June 2008, MSF has scaled up its project in the country providing care to the victims of violence while responding to arising emergencies such as a cholera epidemic in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, in March 2007.