25th November 2020
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Renk in pursuit of suspected arsonists

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Friday, October 23, 2020

Renk County Headquarters | Credit | Courtesy

Authorities in Renk County are reportedly pursuing a group of young people who have allegedly burnt down a store belonging to Medair organization in Upper Nile State.

According to the Secretary-General of the defunct Northern Upper Nile State, the youth broke into the store, vandalized vehicles and set the humanitarian aid store on fire.

“Thank God, there was shower, which helped put off the fire. If it was not for the precipitation, the fire would have engulfed the other store,” Paul Chol says, referring to the second Mediar store.

He said the locals have been demanding employment opportunities from the two organizations operating in the area – World Vision and Medair.

They have reportedly wrote letters of protests to the NGOs and threatening to expel them from Renk if their demands were not met.

Chol stated that those who set the store ablaze have fled, adding that security personnel are in pursuit of the suspects.

Two weeks ago, the Renk Youth Association purportedly held several meetings with NGOs and the government, but the meetings failed to resolve their matter.

Medair is an Evangelical international non-governmental organization NGO of Christian humanitarian aid that provides emergency relief and recovery services in South Sudan.

These include health and nutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and shelter and infrastructure.

Meanwhile,  UNOCHA has condemned the incidents against humanitarian workers and their activities in Renk.

“Humanitarian workers are in Upper Nile to deliver lifesaving assistance to the most vulnerable people, including women, children and older persons,” says Mohamed Ag Ayoya, humanitarian coordinator ad interim in South Sudan, in a statement issued on Friday.

“Intimidating them and forcing humanitarian activities to suspend result in delays of this much-needed assistance to the most vulnerable people, and is unacceptable.”

Humanitarians in Upper Nile continue to experience frequent access issues, primarily due to operational interference and bureaucratic impediments, UNOCHA reports.

These issues are often related to employment opportunities, also seen in other parts of South Sudan.

Recently, bureaucratic impediments in Upper Nile led to the suspension of humanitarian activities and relocation of humanitarian workers in Malakal and Melut counties.

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