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Despite peace deal, ICRC says gunshot injuries still high in South Sudan

South Sudanese wounded civilians (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

July 9th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – Despite the signing of the revitalized peace agreement and the permanent ceasefire that led to decline in fighting last year, the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) said gunshot wounds are still high in South Sudan.

“We have seen a drop in fighting between parties to the conflict, a very hopeful sign. However, intercommunal violence—mostly linked to cattle raids and revenge killing—continues to threaten lives at an alarming level,” James Reynolds, ICRC’s head of programme said.

Based on data collected by health facilities run by the ICRC in South Sudan, 97% of cases caused by gun-related violence were attributed to small firearms, indicating a high prevalence of easy access to small arms among the local population.

“Ninety-seven percent of admitted patients over a recent six-month period suffered gunshot wounds, an indication of the high prevalence and easy access to fire arms,” said ICRC’s country representative.

In the midst of forced displacement and high levels of food insecurity, ICRC urged that restoring stability to the country will be the only way for the local population to recover from years of protracted civil war.

“Stability will be key for South Sudanese to recover from years of conflict. Any form of violence again prevents them from a normal, peaceful life,” Reynolds said.

The ICRC reiterated its readiness to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to communities still in critical emergency situations.

“We will continue to deliver emergency assistance to communities affected by violence, but we hope to put more of our efforts into helping people recover and prosper, not just survive.”

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