In March 2018, 70 humanitarian access incidents were reported, of which over 60 per cent (42) involved violence. Twenty-nine of these involved violence against personnel, which points to a persistently hostile operating environment for humanitarians – mostly affecting national staff. Five humanitarian partners in Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei, Upper Nile and Western Bahr el Ghazal were forced to suspend operations due to interferences by security agencies and local authorities. Of the organizations reported as being affected by these incidents, the UN and international NGOs featured highest at 40 and 36 per cent respectively.
On 25 March, seven national staff from a national NGO, were detained by SPLA-iO forces while travelling in a three-vehicle convoy from Kupera County to Lainya County in Central Equatoria. The convoy was delivering supplies to health facilities serving thousands of people in need in Kupera, Limuro, Wuji and Koyoki. By month end, negotiations to release the aid workers were still unsuccessful. Partners also reported several incidents involving violence against and detention of aid workers, including five detained for a day by SPLA soldiers in Mingkaman, Awerial County (Lakes). In March, the local authorities demanded fees and accreditation requirements of workers in Bor and Aweil. Authorities in Wau suspended the activities of five NGOs, pending provision of extensive organizational and staff documentation. The suspension affected the WASH response for about 10,000 people in Jur River County, nutrition services to nearly 500 malnourished children in Baggari, and vegetable production and income generation support to 6,370 farmers in Jur River County. These incidents – both violent and more bureaucratic, are a continued cause of concern as they disrupt operations and threaten the safety of aid workers. In some cases, they have caused temporary suspensions of humanitarian work.