Humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan calls on authorities to guarantee safety of aid workers
By Daniel Deng Bol
(Juba,20 July2017):The Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim(a.i.) Mahimbo Mdoe called on all authorities in South Sudan to ensure the safety and security of humanitarians in the areas they control across the country and to work to prevent future threats against them.
His calls came days after disgruntled members of the youth in the three states including Bor in Jonglei, Torit in Eastern Equatoria and Mankein in Unity issued threat letters against aid workers
“Aid workers are working tirelessly across South Sudan with the sole aim of saving lives and alleviating the suffering of civilians caught-up in conflict and desperate circumstances,” said Mr. Mdoe. “It is absolutely unacceptable that aid workers, who place themselves at risk each day to help others, are being subjected to discrimination, threats and violence.”
“I am grateful for the steps already taken by authorities in Bor, Torit and Mankien to address the recent threats against aid workers in these areas,” said Mr. Mdoe. “Humanitarians must be able to reach people in need throughout South Sudan, regardless of their place of origin, ethnicity, tribe or any other characteristic. I call on all those with influence to reiterate their respect for aid workers, and to take swift action to prevent threats such as these arising in the future.”
In late June and early July, three letters threatening violence against aid workers from the Equatoria region working in Bor, Jonglei, were received by aid organizations. Humanitarians have extensively engaged with authorities regarding the letters, which were authored by a group proclaiming to be the Bor Community Youth Association. The acting Governor issued a public statement condemning the threats and assured humanitarians that authorities would take all necessary steps to ensure their safety. Several arrests have already been made of alleged perpetrators.
In Torit, Eastern Equatoria, a threatening letter was recently found posted in an NGO compound demanding that staff from the greater Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal regions vacate their jobs. The Governor has reportedly instructed national security and police to investigate the incident and arrest the culprits.
In Mankien, Unity, a threat letter was issued by the County Commissioner demanding that staff from other areas leave. This was followed by a further threatening letter from a group proclaiming to be Youth of Greater Bor counties