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NGO workers attacked in Ruweng


A number of NGO workers have reportedly been assaulted by attackers in Ajuong Thok, Ruweng, following a local disagreement over the recruitment process of foreign aid organisations.

The number of injured aid workers is unknown, though 3 IRC employees requiring medical assistance were reportedly able to reach the UNHCR compound nearby.

The attack is reported to have occurred in a compound belonging to the International Rescue Committee, an NGO offering emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution, or natural disaster.

In a statement issued following the attacks, Ruweng lawmaker Mary Ayen Majok Kiir has expressed 'dismay and regret' at the incident, apologising to those who were injured and 'wishing them a quick recovery'.

Mary Ayen Majok Kiir, lawmaker and incoming MP for the Ruweng Administrative Area.

'These acts do not reflect who we are as Ruweng people. Ruweng has always been a melting pot in a troubled country. So such acts are uncharacteristic of the Ruweng culture and attitude towards visitors or temporary residents. They do not reflect our values and ideals as a people', Mary Ayen Kiir wrote.

The event follows a vow from Monyomiji in Eastern Equatoria that unless local hiring processes were changed to prioritise their members, there would be a likelihood of violence.

Further in her statement, Mary Ayen Kiir has pointed to a number of 'serious underlying factors' driving the recent violence in the area. She pointed to the lack of leadership, law and order and government structures in administrative areas, particularly given their uncertain constitutional status.

The lawmaker also took aim at the current Chief Administrator of Ruweng, claiming he was unable 'to be sensitivity to local grievances and alarming issues of this kind' and noting he was yet to issue a statement.

Concluding, she noted the belief of many local people that there is recruitment discrimination by international organisations. Hence, she called on NGOs to 'work hand in hand with local authorities and community leadership' and address such concerns before they spiral into conflict.

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