South Sudan: Officials in South Sudan’s Jonglei State Accused of Stealing Food Aid

Bor, South Sudan — Civil society activists and residents in the capital of South Sudan’s Jonglei state have accused state officials of stealing food donated by President Salva Kiir that was meant for flood victims.

The president donated 12 truckloads of food to victims of last year’s massive floods while visiting Bor on April 1.

David Garang Goch, chairperson of the Jonglei State Civil Society Network, said he saw some of the food being offloaded from a truck straight into shops at Bor’s Marol Market this week.

“The donated food is different from the food items Ethiopian traders are selling in their shops. The color and the writings are different. It is written ‘KKM,’ and it was brought from Germany, so this food is different from what we already have, and now they are selling it,” Goch told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.

The deputy mayor of the municipality, Mabil Tot, who was tasked with distributing the food to beneficiaries, denied that officials had sold any of the donated food in markets, saying his office promptly turned over the food to residential community leaders for distribution among the displaced.

Given to block leaders

Tot said it was possible, however, that individual recipients took the donated food to the market.

“We distributed it to the block leaders so that they can go and distribute it to the households. Bor municipality has no capacity to distribute the food house to house, so we just planned to divide the food according to the blocks,” Tot told South Sudan in Focus.

Flood victims have been living in “blocks,” areas designated for internally displaced persons.

Goch said the amount of food he saw being offloaded into shops was too large to belong to individuals. He also said there was no reason food-insecure people would sell their shares of the president’s food donations.

The rations given were “not enough and didn’t reach the people intended,” Goch said. He also questioned the amount of money the government earns from the country’s oil revenues and insisted that some of the food donations were “taken by the government officials.”

Goch is urging the office of the president to investigate what happened to the food donations and take appropriate measures against those found responsible for stealing food assistance.

More than 100,000 people were affected in Bor town by flash floods following heavy rains and the overflow of the Nile in 2020, according to state authorities.

Michael Ghai, a resident of the Block 2 suburb in Bor, told South Sudan in Focus he had expected to receive his ration of the president’s food aid but received nothing.

More than a month, and no aid