More than two months after a female volunteer of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in South Sudan, was murdered by armed rebel groups, her four-year-old boy who was abducted by the rebels has finally been released.
The young boy who taken when fighting broke out between armed groups in Isebi, South Sudan last October 27, was on Thursday reunited with his father in an emotional meeting in the capital Juba.
The child’s mother was working at the IOM Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Point of Entry screening site in Morobo.
While the mother of the child was killed along with a male colleague when they were caught in the exchange of gunfire, the name of her son is however, being kept confidential.
The migration agency has learnt that a third female volunteer who disappeared along with the child died later of her injuries.
IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission, Jean-Philippe Chauzy, said in a statement wired to this reporter, “we are very grateful that the boy is safe and relieved that this ordeal that has been ongoing for almost ten weeks is finally over. The boy has been reunited with his father and our primary focus now is to ensure that they both receive counselling.”
IOM, a United Nations migration agency thanked the International Committee of the Red Cross for the invaluable support and pivotal role it played in facilitating the safe return of the child as well as a UN agency that is providing counselling services to the boy and his father.
According to Chauzy, “while we celebrate the safe return of the little boy, our hearts are heavy because we have learned that our volunteer who was taken at the same time has passed away.”
Meanwhile, following the October incident, IOM suspended EVD screening at five points of entry sites, namely Isebi, Bazi, Kirikwa, Lasu and Okaba. Operations in two sites, Bazi and Okaba were restored last November 18 while the three remain closed due to ongoing insecurity, particularly near Lasu.