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ICC Note:

Recognized by the United Nations last month, a “man-made” famine struck areas in South Sudan. “The situation in Mayendit, South Sudan is a level 4 famine,” Samaritan’s Purse stated. Because of the famine’s severity, armed personnel kidnapped eight local Samaritan’s Purse staff. A military spokesperson confirmed that humanitarian aid was demanded in exchange for the staff members’ safety. Samaritan’s Purse remains “hopeful” the rebels will release their members soon.   

03/14/2017 South Sudan (Christianity Today) – Samaritan’s Purse is “hopeful” that eight local staff members kidnapped by rebels will be released soon.

“Samaritan’s Purse confirms that some of our South Sudanese staff in the Mayendit area of South Sudan have been detained by armed personnel,” stated the humanitarian aid organization run by Franklin Graham. “We have been in contact with them, and they have not been harmed. No ransom request has been made, and we are hopeful that they will be released soon and safely.”

A military spokesperson told Reuters today that humanitarian aid was demanded in exchange for the staff members.

It’s a claim that’s easy to believe in a country crippled by famine.

“The situation in Mayendit, South Sudan, is a level 4 famine,” Samaritan’s Purse stated. “We call on all the parties involved to immediately provide complete and unfettered humanitarian access in order to meet the needs of a starving population in order to save lives.”

The famine—officially recognized as such by the United Nations just last month—is an especially frustrating one because it hasn’t been caused by weather or a natural disaster.

“The main tragedy … is that the problem is man-made,” said Eugene Owusu, the United Nation’s humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan. “The underlining drivers have been there for some time, and we have all known that we have a major food crisis.”

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