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UNMISS evacuates humanitarian workers from Renk

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October 24, 2020 (RENK) - The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said it evacuated some 32 humanitarian workers following threats and violent attacks by youth groups in Renk town of Upper Nile State.

UN peacekeepers in South Sudan with one of their helicopters (UNMISS)

The humanitarian staff, UNMISS said in a statement, are currently safe and under it’s protection.

According to the UN, 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. It, however, said when these demands were not met, threats were made against humanitarian workers and warehouses.

The peacekeeping troops, serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, have reportedly been in constant contact with local humanitarian agencies and offered any support needed. They conducted regular patrols to assess the security situation, deter violence, and engaged with local authorities and security forces.

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

“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.

“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 added.

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

Meanwhile, UNMISS said its peacekeeping troops are continuing to monitor the situation through constant patrolling and are protecting humanitarian assets when needed.

(ST)

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