UN condemns attacks on humanitarian workers in South Sudan

UN peacekeepers in South Sudan. PHOTO | AFP
UN peacekeepers in South Sudan. PHOTO | AFP

The UN humanitarian agency on Thursday condemned recent violent attacks by youth groups targeting relief workers in South Sudan.

Alain Noudehou, the UN humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, said that staff from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and a non-governmental organization (NGO) were on Wednesday physically assaulted by youth in separate incidents in Torit town, Eastern Equatoria in the southern part of the country.

“Humanitarian organizations are working across South Sudan to deliver much-needed assistance to vulnerable communities. Attacks against them are completely unacceptable and must stop,” Noudehou said in a statement issued in Juba.

He further added that on April 24 in Jamjang in Ruweng Administrative Area in the country’s northern region, some youth entered an international charity compound and physically attacked staff, resulting in multiple injuries, noting that one staff member suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to a hospital.

“I urge authorities and communities to guarantee the safety and security of aid workers, and the government to enforce law and order. The perpetrators of these violent acts must be brought swiftly to justice and be held accountable for their actions,” said Noudehou.

The UN early this week acknowledged the youth unemployment crisis in South Sudan and pledged support for recruitment practices that are based on competence, professionalism, integrity, and respect for diversity.

According to the UN, some humanitarian organizations have relocated staff to safer areas and many humanitarian activities have been suspended, including critical assistance in the areas of health and nutrition.