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South Sudanese rioters attack aid groups in Maban

Sudanese refugees in a refugees camp in Maban, South Sudan (WFP Photo)
July 23, 2018 (JUBA) - South Sudanese protesters Monday attacked the facilities of aid groups in Bunj area, Maban County of Upper Nile region to protest the employment of local staff from outside the area.

The violence started when the demonstrators entered the UNHCR’s premises and looted its offices and residence. Other aid groups in the area have been burned and looted, also humanitarian vehicles have been damaged.

UNMISS peacekeepers were immediately deployed after the attack to support aid workers and re-establish order in the area.

The area hosts nearly 144,000 Sudanese refugees from the Blue Nile State.

The attack was condemned by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for South Sudan, Adnan Khan, and UNHCR Deputy Representative and officer in charge in South Sudan, Vincent Kwesi Parker.

"This is an act of senseless violence towards humanitarians and deeply regrettable," said Parker before to call on the South Sudanese authorities to "ensure the safety and security of humanitarians".

For his part, Khan "strongly" condemned the attacks against aid workers and facilities in Maban and urged to immediately cease such actions.

"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 added.

The UNHCR in its statement said the security environment in Bunj remains fluid and unpredictable.

The refugees’ agency in coordination with South Sudan’s Commission for Refugee Affairs (CRA) continues to engage with local authorities and representatives of the host community to stabilize the situation.