South Sudan – update on current situation
Our staff have been affected by the unrest in Juba that began on 15 December. Fortunately, country director, LaChelle, had left for vacation the previous day, however deputy country director, Jimmy, and programme manager, Gatkuoth, were visiting Upper Nile State at the time and were unable to return to Juba on 16 December as planned. Jimmy got back to Juba on 19 December and will travel to his home in Uganda as soon as possible. Gatkuoth has stayed in Upper Nile. All our staff are accounted for and are okay, although one of the operations officers has had to seek refuge with his family at the UN compound in Juba.Motivations behind the conflict are unclear. The President says it was an attempted coup; his political opponents say he is using the eruption of tensions between Dinka and Nuer soldiers in the presidential guard as an excuse to arrest them. Juba now seems to be quiet with troops loyal to the President in control. The airport in Juba and roads to the south are now open. However, there has been a significant development in Bor, 200 kms north of Juba and the capital of Jonglei State, which has long been an area the government has struggled to control. One of the army generals has defected and as of 19 December he and forces loyal to him are in control of the city. It is unclear what the government can do about this. Similar action by officers in other areas could lead to civil war and impact the areas in which Concordis is working (we don’t work or have an office in Jonglei).