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Polish NGO pulls out of South Sudan as violence escalates

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 23.12.2013 07:59
The Polish Humanitarian Organization (PAH) has suspended its mission in South Sudan after fighting broke out a week ago between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels.

South Sudanese soldiers on their vehicle patrol a street in Juba, South Sudan, 20 December 2013. Three Indian soldiers in the United Nations peacekeeping mission to South Sudan were killed in an attack on 19 December, the first UN casualties since the ethnic-based violence began on 15 December in the capital, Juba. Hundreds of people died during the violence this week, while several hundred others fled the area: photo - EPA/PHILLIP DHIL

Violence erupted in the new African state when the president accused his former deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup.

South Sudan's government said on Sunday that rebels had seized the capital of a key oil-producing region.

The Polish NGO's building, established in 2006, has been ransacked in the fighting, PAH's director Janina Ochojska has told Polish Radio.

"Our base in Bor [capital of Jonglei State] has been plundered and destroyed. We lost our cars, equipment and pretty much anything that could be taken out of the building," she said.

"The only thing we do not have to worry about in the region are our water wells which are difficult to destroy and are located far enough from the region where fighting is taking place".

The ongoing fighting has already left hundreds dead as tens of thousands of people flee to safer areas of the country.

South Sudan - the land-locked country, with a population of 8 million - declared independence from the Republic of Sudan in 2011 after being an autonomous region since 2005.

Poland established formal diplomatic relations with the world's youngest country in January 2013. (pg/di)

tags: PAH
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