NAIROBI, Kenya — Twelve aid workers helping thousands of refugees in southern Sudan were withdrawn Wednesday, and a U.N. official said they will not be returned until warring factions can guarantee their safety.
On Tuesday, officials confirmed that rebels had killed a U.N. employee and a Norwegian free-lance journalist. Two other relief workers were missing.
Thomas Ekvall, the head of U.N. relief operations in southern Sudan, said that it is not clear how the two died, but both factions of the divided rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army were being held responsible.
The relief workers, who are affiliated with the United Nations and other agencies, were evacuated Wednesday from Mundri and Loa in the southeastern Equatoria region, where they had been caring for an estimated 100,000 refugees, Ekvall said.
The United Nations and about a dozen other aid groups are helping care for more than 1 million displaced and hungry people in Sudan's war-torn south.
Ekvall said 58 foreign aid workers remain in the region, where an estimated 6 million people live.