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Angry youth attack humanitarian workers in Renk “for taking their jobs”

Oct 24, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Unleashing their anger on humanitarian workers, who persisted to continue working in South Sudan’s Renk town, a multitude of youth took law into their own hands to send what they believe would be a stronger message.

Youth addressing a protest in Renk on Monday, January 17, 2020(Photo credit: courtesy image/Nyamilepedia)
Youth addressing a protest in Renk on Monday, January 17, 2020(Photo credit: courtesy image/Nyamilepedia)

According to the UNMISS reports from Renk, there has been tension in Renk as local intellectuals demand to be given jobs that are done by none-Renk residents; however, their greviances were ignored by the NGOs.

“Tensions have been building in the area between local youth and humanitarian organizations over demands that jobs be re-assigned from current staff with particular backgrounds to local people. When these demands were not met, threats were made against humanitarian workers and warehouses.” Part of UNMISS report reads.

“However, the intimidation continued to escalate, and a mob of youth gathered outside a humanitarian warehouse, pelting it with stones.” The statement continued.

UNMISS reports that they were aware of the tension and have been closely monitoring the situation.

According to UNMISS, a task force that is composed of peacekeeping mission from India responded quickly when they were called for help to evacuate the humanitarian workers from Renk.

“In response to a request for assistance, the peacekeepers mobilized a quick reaction team and evacuated staff from that compound along with humanitarian workers in other locations.”  UNMISS said.

“In total, 32 humanitarian workers have been evacuated and provided with protection, shelter, food, and water at the UNMISS compound.” UNMISS confirmed.

Responding to the incident, David Shearer, the Special Representative of the UN-Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS said the threats and attacks on humanitarian partners are completely unacceptable.

“Threats and attacks on our humanitarian partners are completely unacceptable. Nobody working for the UN, whether as peacekeepers or those who provide life-saving aid to communities, should be a target,” said David Shearer, the Special Representative of the UN-Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS.

Although he acknowledges the suffering the young are going through, Shearer calls on the youth to give peace a chance.

“Young people in South Sudan have suffered greatly but they have to give durable peace a chance. This is the only way forward for youth in this country to have a prosperous, economically stable future. I urge those creating tension in Renk to pull back, stop making threats, and to respect the important work being done by humanitarian workers to support those in need.” He said.

While the UN’s peacekeeping troops continue to monitor the situation, the mission calls on South Sudan political and community leaders as well as the military, police and security to take charge instead.

“The mission’s peacekeeping troops are continuing to monitor the situation through constant patrolling and are protecting humanitarian assets when needed. They are also urging local political and community leaders as well as military and police services to ensure the safety of humanitarian staff who courageously provide lifesaving assistance to communities across the region.” UNMISS statement added.

Responding to the reports, local authorities from Renk said they are aware of the youth’s grievances but pledged to bring those who burned down the warehouse to book.

“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,” Said Paul Chol, the Secretary-General of the defunct Northern Upper Nile State when he spoke to local media from Renk.

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