On Sunday, December 1, unidentified armed men attacked an international aid compound in the town of Bunj (Maban county, Upper Nile state). The assailants assaulted five staff members and robbed the staff's valuables.
Further such attacks are possible in the near term.
Attacks targeting aid workers are recurrent in the country. At least 115 aid workers have been killed from 2013 to 2019. Cases of kidnappings have also been on the rise in the country since March 2017, with oil and humanitarian workers particularly targeted.
South Sudan has been wracked by years of political, interethnic, and intercommunal violence - exacerbated by border and oil revenue disputes with Sudan. Following the 2011 signature of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that gave the country its independence from Sudan, the predominantly north-south conflict gave way to a pattern of internal violence. Since December 2013, the country has experienced an intermittent civil war waged between the government of President Salva Kiir and the SPLA on one side, and the former Vice President Riek Machar and the SPLA-IO on the other. The conflict has continued despite international support for state-building and peacekeeping - including the 12,000-strong UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), deployed since 2011. The number of South Sudanese citizens displaced by the conflict currently stands at some 3.5 million.
Individuals in South Sudan are advised to remain vigilant for militant activity, adhere to instructions issued by their home government, and ensure security guidelines and advice are followed.
Many Western governments advise against nonessential travel to South Sudan due to ongoing violence against civilians, international staff, and aid workers. Border regions, including Abyei, should particularly be avoided. If travel is necessary, ensure that proper security protocols are in place.
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