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Samaritan's Purse South Sudanese staff released

Thu 16 Mar 2017
By Alex Williams

Samaritan's Purse has revealed that eight of its South Sudanese staff who were recently detained have now been released.

They were working in the Mayendit area which, in February, was declared to be in a state of famine.

In a statement, the humanitarian organisation said it's "grateful to God that those detained are now safe".

In also said: "Samaritan's Purse is thankful to God for the safe release of our South Sudanese national staff, who had been detained by armed personnel in the Mayendit area of South Sudan. They were all released Tuesday afternoon local time (14th March). 

"There was no ransom request, and the previously detained staff members are now in a safe location. We are grateful for the World Food Programme's support in helping us relocate them."

Samaritan's Purse has been distributing food to the people of the Mayendit area of South Sudan for more than two years.

In February alone, they say they distributed food to more than 100,000 people there.

However, they removed most of their area staff two weeks ago as it became apparent that fighting was going to begin.

Those who were detained are residents of the Mayendit area.

The statement goes on to say: "This situation highlights the severe famine in parts of South Sudan.

The government and the United Nations jointly announced in late February that 100,000 people-specifically those within Mayendit and Leer counties in the central part of the country-presently face starvation, with one million more on the brink of famine.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations said around 5 million people are projected to be severely food insecure during the months of February to April.

Famine is one result of the country's ongoing internal conflict, which began in December 2013.

The violence and insecurity in the country have hit the economy and made it nearly impossible for civilians to plant and harvest crops.

"Samaritan's Purse calls on all parties to stop hostilities and allow immediate full access to distribute emergency food supplies."

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