Two World Vision staff workers in South Darfur, Sudan, were killed during violent clashes near the organization’s compound in Nyala earlier this month, prompting a suspension of operations for 10 days.
On July 4, an errant grenade landed and exploded at the World Vision compound in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state in the western part of the Sudan, killing staff worker Ali Ibrahim. A second staff worker, Sabil Mansour, died later that day from the injuries sustained.
Another employee injured in the crossfire was airlifted to Khartoum, the Sudanese capital city, for treatment. International staff members were also evacuated to the capital.
“The fighting near our office that we have seen in the last few days – injuries and deaths of colleagues – has been a harrowing experience,” said World Vision staff member Venant Tumwine in a report shortly following the incident.
On Monday, July 15, World Vision resumed limited operations and put in place strict security procedures. Reports from the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) and other sources indicate threats of criminal activities, including the abduction of humanitarian workers, can be expected. As a result, all international staff of aid agencies have been advised to relocate to the UN’s “Super Camp” or to stay indoors. They are not currently allowed to visit field programs.
“Our staff must remain vigilant where security is concerned as they offer life-saving services to the IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons),” commented Simon Nyabwengi, World Vision’s National Director for Sudan.
According to World Vision, no final decision has been made whether to fully re-open the compound or to relocate the organization’s offices in the region. Presently, World Vision’s work in Darfur benefits 1.5 million people with support in education, health and nutrition, agriculture, child protection, and women’s development.
The organization also works in Khartoum and Blue Nile states.
Since the July 4 incident – the worst single incident of violence against World Vision employees since 2010 – World Vision has requested for prayers for the victims and their families, for children affected by the conflict, and for humanitarian workers in the most difficult places. The organization has a prayer guide to help direct prayers.
PHOTO ABOVE: A 2006 file photo of a displaced persons camp in Darfur. Photograph courtesy of World Vision.
Published: July 18, 2013