JUBA - South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has condemned last week’s attack on the United Nations base in Bor, in which nearly 60 people were killed, most of them civilians who had sought shelter inside the U.N. compound from four months of fighting.
“This act was a very irresponsible act by very irresponsible people," Kiir said at an Easter prayer service in Juba on Monday.
"We, as the government, we condemn it. There was no reason at all to come and attack innocent people in the UN camp. We don’t like it at all and we don’t want this thing to continue happening,” Kiir said.
U.N. officials have said 58 people were killed when a large group of armed civilians stormed the U.N. compound in Bor on Thursday and began firing indiscriminately at people who were sheltering inside the base.
Most of the nearly 5,000 civilians sheltering inside the Bor base are women and children.
Kiir's condemnation of the attack came days after two senior government officials said U.N. peacekeepers had provoked the assault by firing warning shots into the air to try to disperse a large, heavily armed crowd that had gathered outside the base.
Kiir also warned security forces not to harass drivers of trucks carrying relief goods to people around South Sudan..
"We also condemn this and we warm that those who will be caught practicing this will be severely punished,” he warned.
U.N. and NGO officials have complained that soldiers and police have been stopping and searching trucks and collecting "taxes" from drivers, delaying and sometimes completely blocking the delivery of potentially life-saving aid to needy people around the country.
Kiir said the checkpoints set up by soldiers and police are illegal and will not be tolerated.