The United States says it is “deeply concerned” by Monday’s attack on a World Food Programme (WFP) delivering food aid in South Sudan.
The government’s reaction came in a statement by spokesperson of the Department of State, Ms Morgan Ortagus, on Friday.
WFP said the attack occurred while the convoy of boats was delivering food aid to hundreds of thousands of people displaced by a recent flooding in the country’s north.
The UN said the attack left one crew member missing, presumed dead, and three aid workers with gunshot wounds.
Ortagus said “humanitarian aid workers in South Sudan and throughout the region work under extremely challenging conditions to assist some of the world’s most vulnerable men, women and children”.
“This is the second attack on humanitarian cargo vessels in this area in the past two months.
“We call on the Government of South Sudan to investigate this attack fully and expeditiously.
“It should provide the security necessary to ensure the safety of aid workers who are delivering critical life-saving services and assistance,” she said.
The U.S., according to the spokesperson, is the largest humanitarian assistance provider to the people of South Sudan.
She said the country provided nearly 907 million dollars (N346 billion) in humanitarian aid to South Sudan in 2020 through the UN and nongovernmental organisation partners.
“We continue to stand with the South Sudanese people to help address their ongoing humanitarian needs and demonstrate the long-term commitment of the U.S. Government and international community to South Sudan’s stability,” she added.
Earlier on Friday, the WFP was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts at combating hunger and improving conditions for peace in conflict areas.