The top United Nations relief official in South Sudan today strongly condemned the armed robbery in Juba of the compound of a UN-partner organization called Nile Hope.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), during last Friday’s robbery, aid workers were held at gunpoint and significant assets of the non-governmental organization (NGO) were taken.
“Violence and crime against humanitarian organizations in South Sudan are jeopardizing the ability of aid workers to provide assistance at a time when humanitarian needs are greater than ever,” said Eugene Owusu, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, in a news release.
“This is unacceptable and must stop. I call on all actors to respect and protect humanitarian staff and assets,” he continued.
In addition, OCHA said the robbery “is absolutely reprehensible and those responsible must be identified and held to account,” adding that the staff of Nile Hope and other humanitarian workers “work day in and day out in dangerous and difficult locations across South Sudan to help people in dire need.”
The Nile Hope compound robbery is reportedly the latest in a string of violent incidents affecting humanitarian partners operating in South Sudan. In the month of October alone, humanitarian partners reported 32 cases of attempted or successful robbery, burglary and looting affecting their operations, including 15 in Juba – and a humanitarian worker was killed during a compound robbery in September, OCHA indicated.
“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,” stated Mr. Owusu.