Humanitarian organization suspends operations in Unity State

By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon, Juba

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in South Sudan has indefinitely suspended its operations at Ganyiel area of Unity State following the killing of its senior medical staff.

Caroline Sekyewa, the IRC Country’s Director in South Sudan said on Wednesday that the pausing of the operations was effected in conjunction with organization’s global safety and security protocols.  

“Following the tragic death Dr. Louis Edward Saleh Ufew, one of our senior medical staff in Ganyiel, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has paused operations in Ganyiel Payam, Panyijar County in accordance with IRC global safety and security protocols that require to undertake a thorough risk assessment when serious incidents such as this one occurs,” the Director explained in a statement on May 26.  

Dr. Louis Edward was killed on May 21, in Ganyiel area, Unity State by unknown group.

This culminated the South Sudan Doctors’ Union to issue a 72 hours ultimatum for Unity State authorities to apprehend the perpetrators who are yet to be identified.

The local authorities later said in a statement that they had launched investigations to get the culprits.

The IRC Chief said the organization had to also scale down its operations to avoid psychological issues among its staff.  

“We also stopped operations in the honor of our beloved deceased staff, and also for the sake of psychological wellbeing of his colleagues, both from Unity State and the rest of South Sudan who are understandably very traumatized,” said Sekyewa.  

“We cannot continue business as usual without first understanding the situation and re-orienting our ways in the changed context for IRC to draw some lessons and ensure that this never happens again, given that as an organization besides providing humanitarian services to communities, IRC also has a responsibility of ensuring its staff safety and security,” the statement added.

The organization called on the State and national authorities to expedite the investigation process as the outcome will inform them on the next steps.

Sekyewa revealed that they will cooperate with the authorities as they carry out their investigations.

The International Rescue Committee is a humanitarian organization that responds to the World’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives.

It was founded in 1933 with a dream of offering lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to people affected by war or disaster.

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