By AFTABOSS Reporter
Reports coming from Maban this afternoon indicated that the marauding youth have burned down the WFP compound and other compounds, broken vehicles and injured 2 humanitarian workers, including the WFP field manager.
By the time this story came to press, emergency evacuations of UN staff and NGO workers from communities other than Maban were underway or awaiting final signal from New York as a response to the high-level security threats from tthe local youths.
The youths of Maban, Malakal and Bentiu in Greater Upper Nile Region issued an ultimatum to UN Agencies and other humanitarian organizations operating in the region on July 10, 2018.
This time in 2017, the youth of Bor issued similar warning threats against the UN and NGOs, which was reciprocated by the Equatorian youth. The state authorities intervened and quelled the threats, but not necessarily addressing the local youth’s concerns.
Their grievances are that the UN and NGOs have marginalized their communitities by employing youth from other states at the expense of their own.
“Over the last few years, we have been observing the phenomenon of newly recruited local staff of Equatorian origins, Jonglei and other states arriving from Juba or Bor to undertake local jobs in UNMISS, UN agencies and international humanitarian organizations operating in Malakal’s Protection of Civilians Site (PoC),” Malakal youth wrote.
“This is due to the fact that their fellow tribesmen and women control the human resources recruitment units of all the above-mentioned organizations’ headquarters in Juba and Malakal.” The youth decried what they termed as corruption and tribalism in their warning letter to UN agencies, seen by our Social Media group, AFTABOSS, two weeks ago.
It seems the authorities addressed in the letter did not take necessary actions, hence, the youth took the matter into their hands and began attacking the compounds in Maban, as Malakal and other areas are on panic mode.
The UNHCR confirmed this in their statement, quoted below, just the same time AFTABOSS received the report.
“Earlier today UNHCR was informed of a demonstration demanding employment opportunities for the local community. The demonstrators forcefully entered UNHCR’s compound and looted its offices and residence. The Mabanese have accused humanitarian organizations of recruiting people from outside Maban County. Ten other humanitarian agencies’ compounds as well as the office of the Commission for Refugee Affairs (CRA) have been attacked and looted.”
“I am in Malakal. We are safe but the same situation in Maban may happen here any time due to the recent document warning the agencies. O Friday, I will be out of malakal to Juba,” wrote one of our bloggers working with an international NGO in Malakal.
He added that 2 batches for evacuation had been approved this evening as planes were on air to Maban as he was speaking to our editor.
In terms of intervention, only the South Sudan National Security Service soldiers intervened and clashed with the marauders as ginshots were heard in Mabana town this morning. The rest of the forces abstained, leaving the UN Agencies/NGOs with no more guarantee but to evacuate all the staff for safety.
Meanwhile, UNHCR condemned this blatant act of violence in their public statement released this afternoon.
“This is an act of senseless violence towards humanitarians and deeply regrettable,” says UNHCR Deputy Representative and officer in charge in South Sudan, Vincent Kwesi Parker. “UNHCR deeply appreciates the hospitality and generosity of South Sudan and its people towards refugees. We strongly appeal to the authorities to ensure the safety and security of humanitarians.”