The United Nations top relief official in South Sudan on Wednesday condemned the latest unprovoked attack on aid workers and assets in the country’s Tonj North, Warrap.
Arafat Jamal, humanitarian coordinator ad interim in South Sudan said fighting broke out between youth groups in Marial Lou, Tonj North, Warrap region on July 8 and continued into the next day.
More than 5,000 people were reportedly displaced, hundreds of shelters were burnt down, health centers, schools and churches were vandalized, and a World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse was looted.
Jamal in a statement issued in Juba called on authorities to make every effort to protect communities, humanitarian personnel and assets across the country.
He said humanitarian workers strive to deliver life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people in South Sudan, including women, children and older persons.
According to the UN, the warehouse stored assorted critical food items destined for people who are highly food insecure in the area.
Tonj North is one of six counties in South Sudan where families risk facing catastrophic levels of hunger at the height of the lean season, the UN said.
Since early 2021, more than 911 tons of food items and nutrition supplements have been looted or destroyed during sub-national violence across the country.
These supplies, the UN said, were enough to feed more than 41,000 food-insecure people for up to four months.
Jamal sad the national and local authorities must strengthen law enforcement and ensure the safety of communities and humanitarian organizations.
He said the trend of increased violence against humanitarians and humanitarian assets can not continue.
“We must be able to safely reach people in remote and highly food-insecure areas without the threat of attack. Acts of criminality must stop, and the perpetrators of the violence and looting brought to justice,” the UN official said.
He said those people who commit these crimes are punishing the most vulnerable people in their own communities. Enditem