November 23, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, Eugene Owusu, has strongly condemned last week’s attack on Nile Hope compound by unknown armed robbers in Juba calling on the authorities to investigate the incident.
“Violence and crime against humanitarian organizations in South Sudan are jeopardising the ability of aid workers to provide assistance at a time when humanitarian needs are greater than ever,” Owusu said in a recent statement.
He said the raiders held aid workers at gunpoint before they could seize valuable assets of the NGO, referring to the crime as absolutely reprehensible, calling for quick identification of those responsible to be held accountable.
Owusu said local non-governmental organisations such as Nile Hope and other humanitarian workers work tirelessly in dangerous and difficult locations across South Sudan to help people in dire need, saying targeting them was an unforgivable crime.
“This is unacceptable and must stop. I call on all actors to respect and protect humanitarian staff and assets,” he added.
However, the Nile Hope compound robbery was the latest incident, among many cases that threaten humanitarian partners operating in the world’s youngest nation.
Last month, the humanitarian partners reported 32 related cases of attempt and successful robbery, burglary and looting properties belonging to various aid agencies.
The UN office for coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) reported around 15 cases of robbers committed in Juba alone, adding a humanitarian worker was killed in September this year.
“I call on all relevant actors including government to work together to strengthen our collective resolve to protect the safety and security of humanitarian workers,” Owusu said.
The continued attacks on humanitarian workers in the fields, warned the official, are likely to threaten delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people on the ground.
With the economic collapse in South Sudan, many people, including suspected members of the security forces, have reportedly resorted to robberies as a source of living.
Humanitarian agencies report that an estimated 7.5 million people are now food insecure and an unprecedented malaria outbreak is affecting nearly all the states in South Sudan.
Over 2.3 million people were reportedly forced to flee their homes since the war began.