South Sudan: UN Relocates Aid Workers over Attacks

Nearly 30 aid workers in a remote and troubled part of South Sudan, Renk, have been relocated to a peacekeeping base, according to the United Nations.

Development Diaries learnt that the humanitarian workers were relocated to a UN base following a rise in threats and attacks in the area.

Tensions, it was gathered, had been building in Renk for weeks, with aid organisations and young South Sudanese demanding jobs.

According to local officials and witnesses, a warehouse belonging to a charity organisation, Medair, was torched in Renk by an angry mob.

‘They just came and [burnt] the store for Medair and left. Nobody was arrested’, Relief and Rehabilitation Commission Director in Renk, Benykeng Ajak Pal, said.

Local youths had attacked warehouses and accommodation belonging to aid workers after calling for them to leave Renk unless their demands were met, according to UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

‘…[I]ntimidating them and forcing humanitarian activities to suspend result in delays of this much-needed assistance to the most vulnerable people, and is unacceptable’, interim Head of OCHA in the country, Mohamed Ayoya, said in a statement.

The EU and the heads of mission of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Canada, the US, UK, and Switzerland have condemned the attacks.

‘In 2020 alone up to 14 humanitarian workers have lost their lives and this continues to make South Sudan one of the most dangerous places to work as a humanitarian’, they said in a joint statement.

‘Attacks on civilians, aid workers, facilities and supplies are in breach of international humanitarian law’.

South Sudan achieved statehood in 2011 after a decade-long war of independence from Sudan, its larger, Muslim-majority neighbour to the north.

However, the fighting turned inward in 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting against him, and South Sudan was torn by a civil war until a ceasefire largely paused the bloodshed in September 2018.

Source: The Global Post

Photo source: Chetan Sharma/Unsplash


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