Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Juba - Violence in south Sudan has forced the aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to suspend its work in the Gumuruk area of troubled Jonglei state, the organisation said on Saturday.
Three separate security incidents this month, including attacks by armed men, forced MSF to suspend medical aid in the remote healthcare clinic, a statement read.
"Attacks on our staff and clinics prevent us from providing essential medical aid," said Rob Mulder, who heads the MSF mission in southern Sudan.
"These incidents are totally unacceptable as they stop us from accessing patients and put our staff at risk," he said.
The clinic serves a population of more than 30 000 people, and was providing treatment to more than 160 malnourished children, Mulder said.
In addition, there were up to 20 new cases of severely malnourished children each week.
On July 1, an armed group entered the clinic, stealing boxes of special food used to treat severely malnourished children, followed by another robbery three days later, MSF said.
Then on July 27, four MSF staff members were violently robbed by armed men while travelling by boat to Gumuruk.
The remote site is only accessible by plane or boat during the current rainy season.
South Sudan is still recovering from decades of war with the north during which about two million people were killed in a conflict fuelled by religion, ethnicity, ideology and resources including oil.
The south is expected in January to vote in a referendum set up under a 2005 peace deal, which promised it the chance to choose independence or to remain part of a united Sudan.
Clashes between rival ethnic groups in south Sudan erupt frequently - often sparked by cattle rustling and disputes over natural resources, while others are retaliation for previous attacks.