South Sudan: People Take Shelter from Violence in MSF's Leer Compound

Dominic Nahr

JUBA—The people of Leer, South Sudan, continue to live in fear, with at least four incidents of rape, looting, and violence recorded this month alone.

In the most recent incident on March 14, 27 civilians—mostly women and children—fled to the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) compound seeking shelter as their houses were looted by a group of men carrying guns.

"On the evening of March 14, the MSF teams could hear screaming coming from the village," said Jens Pagotto, MSF emergency coordinator in Leer county. "Then, suddenly, the MSF teams saw civilians running in our direction. They were running for their lives and they feel as though there is no one to turn to, so they take shelter with MSF."

In other recent incidents of armed looting recorded earlier in March, at least one person was killed, at least two women were raped, and one patient was brought to the MSF Hospital in Leer to be treated for a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

"The security situation for the people living in Leer remains desperate, with increasingly regular instances of armed robbery, violent attacks and sexual violence against women," says Pagotto.

MSF asks the local authorities to take immediate action to ensure protection of civilians in Leer and other conflict-affected areas of South Sudan.

MSF has been providing humanitarian and medical assistance in Leer for over 25 years. In the first two months of 2016, MSF provided medical assistance to nearly 13,000 patients in Leer and Thonyor, including 73 for violence-related injuries.

Further Reading: A Week of Extraordinary Violence in Pibor, South Sudan

Tens of thousands of people from all over the nearby region prepare to receive their first distribution in many months in Thonyor, South Sudan. Many residents from Leer fled to Thonyor feeling saverthere .
Dominic Nahr