January 14, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan government has banned international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from operating in the rebel-controlled Payinjiar county, according to confidential statement Sudan Tribune has obtained.
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NGOs distribute relief items to civilians in Bor town of Jonglei state, 9 October, 2012 (ST)

South Sudan Nation Security Service, in a letter addressed to 8 international organizations in the area, advised these entities to cease from operating in a territory controlled by rebels forces allied to ex-First Vice President Riek Machar.

“You are hereby directed to cancel operations in and around Payinjiar (Ganyliel & Nyuong) from the effect of today 31-12-2016 and all your staff must immediately pullout from the area. All the flights to the foresaid areas are suspended. Also, boats from Juba to Payinjiar or from Payinjiar to Juba via River Nile are banned,” partly reads the statement.

Payinjiar has remained a stronghold of the rebels since the crisis broke out in mid-December 2013, and thousands of displaced persons live in the area.

Although the area remains under the control of rebel forces, relations have been strong between neighboring communities of Yirol and the Nyuong-Nuer, with trading activities being a common practice along each other’s’ borders.

Despite several attacks by pro-government forces to re-take the area from rebels, they have failed after facing fierce resistance from the opposition forces.

Last month, the rebels detained a Tanzanian who flew a chartered plane that landed at Ganyliel airstrip with a government commissioner aboard the plane.

Talks are reportedly underway with the rebels to have the commissioner freed.

Several aids workers confirmed to Sudan Tribune that all NGO staffs in the area were on Friday airlifted to Juba. These included national and international staffs as the government implements last month’s ban on NGOs in the rebel-controlled area.