E. Equatoria gov’t suspends NGO operations in Torit

The government of Eastern Equatoria State has today directed all United Nations agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations in Torit County to suspend operations for a week as it addresses the recent tensions between the youth (Monyiemiji) and humanitarian workers which have led to assaults.  

Staff from the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Children’s Agency, UNICEF, South Sudan Red Cross, and the Health Link have reportedly been attacked and assaulted by armed Monyiemiji youths last month, with the latest incident happening on Monday.

Following the violent attacks, the State Security Committee convened an urgent meeting today (Wednesday) and made the following resolutions. 

“The NGOs should suspend their operations within Torit for seven days to allow the committee that was formed to finish its work. This suspension of operations by the NGOs is also to allow the government to engage the Monyiemiji on the matter,” Aliandro Lotok, the state governor’s press secretary told Radio Tamazuj. “The UN should move back its forces which were deployed to various installations within Torit. The organized forces are directed to increase their operations and to guard World Food Program Warehouse inside Torit.” 

Lotok said Governor Louis Long Lojore has also met with a delegation from the UN agencies and other NGOs in Torit to discuss the unfortunate turn of events.

He said Lobong further condemned the assault on the humanitarian aid workers and the use of force by some members of the Monyiemiji as a means of addressing grievances.

The press secretary further noted that Lobong also urged the youth to stop causing havoc within the town as their grievances are addressed.

“The meeting resolved that the assault on UN and NGOs personnel on some elements within the Monyiemiji is now a threat to the security of the state. The governor assures the UN and NGOs of government’s commitment to addressing the matter as quickly as possible to allow the smooth running of humanitarian activities in the state,” Lotok added.

According to Lotok, the governor is committed to ensuring that humanitarian operations continue uninterrupted as thousands of people remain vulnerable and need aid. 

“This is the commitment from the governor that the government is going to ensure that in the next seven days effective from today, the committee is going to move fast to ensure that they finish their work so that a solution is found to the complaints of the Monyiemiji,” he assured. 

Yesterday, the South Sudan Red Cross suspended its operations in Torit after armed youth stormed its offices and assaulted staff members on Monday.

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