Malnourished children receive food at a World Vision feeding center
in Deriege camp in South Darfur state in 2012. Recent fighting in the
region has forced the agency to suspend aid, affecting about
1 million people.
World Vision has suspended its work in South Darfur, Sudan, after violence in the provincial capital killed two staff workers and injured three others.
'Unable to serve'
"There are about a million people World Vision is unable to serve," says Simon Nyabwengi, World Vision's director for Sudan. "The longer armed groups continue fighting, the longer we are prevented from delivering vitally important services, such as food aid, health facilities, water and sanitation interventions, and Child-Friendly Spaces.
"The tragic and senseless deaths of our two employees last week underscore not only the danger of our work, but also our commitment to God's calling to serve the poor," says Simon.
"By rededicating ourselves to the people of South Darfur, we also are honoring the lives and legacies of Ali Ibrahim and Sabil Mansour, our staff who lost their lives."
Two staff members died from a grenade that exploded in the organization's compound near Nyala, which was also looted. It was the worst single incident of violence against World Vision employees since 2010, when eight staff were killed in an attack in Pakistan.
Another employee, Mohammed Yacoub Ali, who was injured in the attack, is being treated in a hospital in Khartoum for shrapnel wounds. He is expected to be hospitalized for two weeks. Two other staff are receiving outpatient treatment.
Four international staff who were stranded in the compound because of ongoing fighting were flown to Khartoum and continued to Nairobi. They will return to their homes in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda, Simon says.
'World's most difficult and dangerous places'
"Our prayers are with the families of these courageous staff who gave of themselves every day in humble service so that others might live. In the end they gave the ultimate gift - their very lives," said Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S.
"Such sacrifice is an inspiration for all God's people, and certainly for the World Vision family as we continue to serve children and families in some of the world's most difficult and dangerous places."
World Vision's leaders in Sudan and the East Africa Region are working with other humanitarian agencies and Sudanese officials to assess security in South Darfur in hopes of resuming operations soon.
A team is investigating the loss of vehicles, computers, and other equipment and determining what security improvements are necessary before reopening the office in Nyala.