Sr Veronica Rackova at St Bakhita Health Centre

Fifty four humanitarian workers have been killed in South Sudan since the outbreak of civil war in December 2013, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said.

The revelation follows the tragic killing of Sister Veronika Racková, a 58 year old Slovakian nun and medical doctor who was shot on 15 May 2016 in Yei, while on a humanitarian mission, and later succumbed to her wounds, prompting the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, to strongly condemn the killing.

“I am deeply saddened by this senseless act and send my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Sister Veronika Racková,”Mr Owusu said, adding: “I welcome steps being taken by the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and urge them to act swiftly.”

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Sister Veronika Racková was driving an ambulance on her way back from a medical centre when she was attacked. Her death brings the number of aid workers killed in South Sudan since the beginning of the conflict in December 2013 to 54.

Mr Owusu said that violence against humanitarian workers and humanitarian assets is categorically unacceptable and must stop.

“I urge the Transitional Government of National Unity to endeavour to strengthen the safety and security environment for aid workers and will work intensively with them to achieve this,” Mr Owusu said.

In a related development Holy Mass in memory of Sr Rackova was held over the weekend at Yei’s Christ the King Cathedral in South Sudan. Sr. Veronika, a medical doctor at St Bakhita Health Centre in Yei, South Sudan died last Friday and could be buried in South Sudan.

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