WFP said today that it is deeply saddened and shocked by the killing of one of its employees during an ambush in southern Sudan on Wednesday, January 10.
The thoughts and prayers of WFP staff are with Mr. Joseph’s family at this time.
WFP Executive Director, James Morris.
The WFP employee, Emmanuel Chaku Joseph, was 28 years old. He is the first WFP staff member to have been murdered in Sudan in years.
“WFP deplores the cold-blooded and senseless killing of a man who was working to help his country after many years of war,” said WFP Executive Director, James Morris.
“The thoughts and prayers of WFP staff are with Mr. Joseph’s family at this time,” he added.
“Mr. Joseph’s death marks a set back to all those who value peace and prosperity in southern Sudan, and is yet another example of daily outbreaks of violence which threaten the future stability of the region,” said WFP Sudan representative, Kenro Oshidari.
Mr. Joseph was a Sudanese national employed by WFP as a driver. He was assigned to drive for a WFP engineer who oversees a section of road being built by a German development organization, GTZ, under a WFP contract.
WFP is building close to 3,000 kilometers of roads in southern Sudan at a cost of more than $200 million and contracts work out to organizations including GTZ to help carry out the project.
The ambush occurred when Mr. Joseph was travelling in a pickup truck on the road between Juba, the capital of southern Sudan, and the town of Torit, where GTZ has a roadside camp.
Southern Sudan is classified as Phase 3 under the United Nations security system, which means UN staff are required to adhere to strict security procedure.
In accordance with that procedure, Mr. Joseph was travelling with an armed escort provided by the southern Sudanese army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
Mr. Joseph, who was not driving the car at the time of the ambush, was travelling in the pickup with three GTZ employees and the SPLA soldiers.
One of the GTZ employees and two of the soldiers were wounded during the attack.
The pickup left Juba at approximately 10am on Wednesday. At approximately 11.30am, the pickup was ambushed by a number of unknown gunmen who fired automatic weapons at the car. The body of Mr. Joseph was returned to Juba later in the day.
WFP in southern Sudan
WFPemploys 420 people in southern Sudan, most of whom are Sudanese nationals. In 2007 WFP will feed approximately two million people in southern Sudan.