January 18, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan government has lifted the ban it had earlier imposed on flights to Payinjiar county in the wake of continuous rebel activities in the area.
- The Payinjiar community at a meeting in Bentiu town, August 23, 2015 (ST)
The move came after the country director for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) petitioned the humanitarian affairs and disaster management ministry last week.
The undersecretary in the humanitarian affairs ministry, Gatwech Peter Kulang assured WFP of government support.
“I’m pleased to inform you that the ministry of interior has advised that all humanitarian flights and boats to Payinjiar can resume operations at your own risk,” reads a letter addressed to WFP.
South Sudan’s national security service, in a circular it issued on 31 December, 2016, warned humanitarian agencies operating in the area and banned water and air transport.
The decision, officials said, forced most international and national staffs to pullout out of Payinjiar last week after the government requested them to abandon their operations.
Although it remains unclear why government imposed the ban, multiple sources, including aid worker said the decision was meant to prevent rebel groups controlling the area from benefiting from relief items.
Currently, Payinjiar county is reportedly hosting nearly 200,000 internal displaced persons (IDPs), mainly from Guit, Koch, Mayiandit and Leer counties of oil-rich Unity state.