WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. Photo: WFP/Rein Skullerud

The head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Josette Sheeran welcomed today the decision by the Kenyan High Court to sentence five men to 56 years in prison each for the murder of a WFP staff member in 2008.

Silence Chirara, a Zimbabwean national, was coordinating WFP?s logistics operation for South Sudan when he was ambushed and killed while driving a UN vehicle in the town of Lokichoggio, in northwest Kenya. He was 37.

?Nothing can be done to replace the life of this dedicated humanitarian and father, but justice has now been allowed to run its course,? WFP said in a statement. ?These stiff prison sentences send an important message that those who harm humanitarian workers shall be brought to justice.?

WFP staff members said their thoughts were with Silence?s wife and his two children. ?We condemn in the strongest possible terms any attack on humanitarian workers. When action is taken, this serves as a deterrent to groups or individuals who are targeting humanitarian staff in their places of work,? the statement read.

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