Protestors attacked a United Nations compound and ten other humanitarian complexes in South Sudan’s Maban County on Monday, after accusing aid groups of “unfair” hiring practices, the U.N. said in a press release.
People began looting and setting fire to the complex, in an apparent outrage, accusing the U.N. and other organizations of hiring workers from Equatoria in the south rather than their own northern region. Two workers were injured, according to the UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency.
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Adnan Khan, strongly condemned attacks on aid workers and facilities in the north-western town of Bunj saying, “Aid workers, regardless of where they are from, sacrifice their time and all too often their safety to save people affected by the South Sudan crisis.”
“They are free to work in any part of the country in line with the law of the land,” he noted. Khan called for authorities to ensure the safety of workers under their areas of control and an end to all attacks.
South Sudan is facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world prompting colossal need for relief workers. Yet, in 2017, South Sudan had the most attacks of any country on aid workers with a tally of 106 attacks, including several deaths.
The country descended into civil war in late 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused former vice president Riek Machar of plotting a coup. Since then, tens of thousands have been killed and millions have been uprooted.
At the moment, South Sudan has one of the highest poverty rates in the world, and the blockage of aid has left millions in need in a country at high risk of national famine.