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JUBA - 14 Jul 2017

Armed robbers break into MSF clinic in Pibor town

File photo: MSF hospital in Pibor looted and damaged in 2013
File photo: MSF hospital in Pibor looted and damaged in 2013

The international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said six to ten unidentified armed men broke into its clinic in Pibor town in Boma state and injured two staff members after threatening other team members with guns early Thursday morning.

In a statement seen by Radio Tamazuj today, MSF said equipment, including phones and computers, were stolen. The organization pointed out it has decided to partially withdraw its teams to reassess the security situation in Pibor due to the violent nature of the attack.

MSF strongly condemned the incident and the fact that robberies and lootings occur on a regular basis in Pibor and other areas of the country.

 According to the medical aid charity, this attack in Pibor is the latest in a series of events over the past six years that have forced it to reduce activities for periods of time, leaving patients with little access to healthcare.

“MSF is the only organisation providing much needed specialised health care services such as basic surgery in the area of Pibor,” says Fernando Galvan, deputy head of mission for MSF in South Sudan.

“This event forced us to evacuate part of our team and reduce our activities at a time when people are in desperate need of healthcare,” he added.

MSF reiterated the call to all armed actors to respect international humanitarian law, which protects civilians, medical facilities and the provision of humanitarian assistance.

“We are doing our best to provide essential medical care to people in Pibor who desperately need our assistance, but we need to be able to work in a safe environment,” said Galvan

“We also need our patients to feel safe when they come to the clinic. They should never have to worry about violent attacks happening within a medical facility. Hospitals must be safe places for patients and for medical workers providing them with healthcare,” he added.

Meanwhile, the newly appointed minister of local government and law enforcement in Boma State, Simon Logocho Gain confirmed the incident to Radio Tamazuj.

He pointed out that his government is working hard to arrest the criminals and bring them to book.

The clinic in Pibor is a 37-bed medical facility where MSF manages the outpatient department, the inpatient ward, the maternity ward and the laboratory.