14th April 2024
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UN records attacks, looting of humanitarian supplies in February

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Thursday, March 28, 2024

WFP trucks convoy carrying food aid. (Photo: UN video capture).

The United Nations humanitarian agency reported 33 incidents hindering humanitarian access in South Sudan including cases of robbery, ambush and looting of relief supplies in February 2024.

UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its February snapshot, 14 of the 33 incidents involved violence against humanitarian staff, assets and personnel.

Six incidents were related to active hostilities and five incidents involved operational interference, OCHA said.

The agency underscored that Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states faced the highest number of access challenges, with eight, six and five incidents respectively.

OCHA cited cases of “looting and theft of response supplies, robbery and ambush targeting humanitarian convoys, as well as threats, harassment and intimidation of aid workers.”

“Incidents of ambush and robbery targeted humanitarian convoys traveling between Bor to Pibor road, with truck drivers of commercial contractors being robbed of cash and personal belongings,” the agency said.

On February 9, 2024, unidentified gunmen shot at World Food Program vehicles enroute to Pibor Administrative Area at the location of Anyidi Payam of Bor South County, UNMISS and local authorities said.

The incident was condemned by US, UK, and Norway, who reiterated calls on the government to protect aid workers delivering lifesaving assistance, while the state government promised to hold the armed “criminals” behind the attack accountable.

OCHA further indicated that active hostilities in Jur River, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Abyei Administrative Area and Nasir, Upper Nile State led to delays in the movement of supplies and personnel.

The agency also cited incidents of suspension of humanitarian programs in some areas due to asset looting and injuries to humanitarian personnel.

“In Juljok, Abyei Administrative Area, clashes among armed youth resulted in injuries to a nurse and a security guard, as well as the looting and suspension of services in two health facilities.”

On Wednesday, Save the Children said more than 600,000 people – both refugees and returnees – have been registered crossing into South Sudan from Sudan since the beginning of conflict on 15th April 2023.

The children’s charity said about 1,000 people arrive per day in South Sudan from Sudan in scorching heat and with children in dire need of support inside a country already facing severe hunger crisis.

“Most people arrive with nothing, having lost their homes and livelihoods. Some children have reported seeing loved ones, including their parents, killed on route,” it stated.

OCHA said on Tuesday that South Sudan currency depreciation has caused severe hunger for around 6 million people between December 2023 and March 2024 as food prices rise by 19 percent in the country.

The soaring inflation blamed on dwindling revenue due to the impact of the Sudan war and the Red Sea blockade, has since February this year triggered a sharp increase in commodity prices across the country.

 

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