from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – ARMED groups have looted warehouses with food aid for thousands of people affected by floods in South Sudan.
The attacks come at a time of rising violence in the country, in which humanitarians are increasingly harmed and their facilities damaged.
This month two humanitarians were killed in separate incidents and branded vehicles shot at.
Two warehouses managed by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), in Mirmir and Padeah, in Unity State, have been attacked and looted in at least four incidents over the last two weeks.
This has deprived at least 23 000 people in desperate need of aid.
“The sharp rise in violence has forced our aid workers to flee with their families, forcing us to suspend our work in several areas,” said Kennedy Mabonga, NRC’s Country Director in South Sudan.
Witnesses have given NRC accounts of atrocities being committed against civilians, as well as widespread attacks on aid workers.
“We also fear that more of our warehouses will be attacked depriving even more people in desperate need of aid,” Mabonga said.
The envoy lamented that attacks and looting of humanitarian aid were unacceptable and severely limited the ability of aid workers to deliver assistance to the people who need it most.
“At a time when South Sudan is facing unprecedented humanitarian needs, every bag of food stolen from our warehouses is directly snatched from a family that desperately needs it,” Mabonga said.
More than 8 million people in South Sudan will need humanitarian assistance this year.
The world’s newest country, with a population of 11,4 million people, plunged into war in 2013, two years after independence.
A unity government formed in 2020 must restore order.
– CAJ News