Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. He can be reached on [email protected]
The United States on Friday evening condemned what it described as a “troubling rise in violence” against humanitarian workers in South Sudan.
The United Nations estimates that there have been more than 400 violent incidents against aid workers in South Sudan since the beginning of the year 2020.
Samantha Power, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), called on the government of South Sudan to protect civilians and aid workers.
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She said attacks, intimidation, or threats against aid workers, regardless of nationality, are “unacceptable.”
“In recent months, South Sudan has seen a troubling rise in violence against humanitarian workers, including the killing of two aid workers this month,” Power wrote in a statement received by Today News Africa in Washington D.C.. “The United States condemns this violence and calls on the Government of South Sudan to protect civilians and humanitarians and to arrest the perpetrators in Renk, Torit, and Jamjang and hold them accountable.”
She added that violence against aid organizations not only puts aid workers’ lives at risk; it disrupts the flow of life-saving aid to those in need.
“Recent attacks have forced some organizations to suspend humanitarian assistance in Unity and Upper Nile states, which are nearing famine conditions, meaning that 45,000 people could lose access to the aid they desperately need,” Power said.
According to her, “South Sudan is perennially one of the most dangerous countries for aid workers to operate in.”
“Our humanitarian partners work tirelessly and at great personal risk to deliver assistance. Maintaining their safety and unhindered access to people in need is critical to keeping people alive,” Power said. “The Government of South Sudan must take immediate and effective measures to protect humanitarian workers and provide sustained and unhindered access to those who are experiencing food insecurity and other acute humanitarian needs.”