The attack came on the night of July 11th, uniformed soldiers swarming buildings in the Jebel area of Juba, South Sudan where they went on a night long rampage of murder, rape, and theft. When the gang broke into a hotel where Westerners are known to frequent, one female NGO worker was told, “Either you have sex with me, or we make every man here rape you, and then we shoot you in the head,” the Associated Press reported. She was gang raped by fifteen men.
One local security contractor was getting phone calls all night from panicked NGO offices worried about their employees. The UN compound was literally a few minutes away by car, but the so-called “peace keepers” refused to come to the aide of civilians under attack. Previously, a local woman reported being captured and raped right in front of a UN compound while security guards watched, but did nothing. With the United Nations predictably useless, the local Sudanese security contractor responded to every phone call he got, rescuing around 80 NGO workers that night.
Human Rights Watch reported on the events that led to the devastating attack against NGO workers:
On July 8, 2016 fighting started between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, and those of his first vice-president, Riek Machar, a Nuer, during a cabinet meeting at the presidential compound. The violent gun battle was preceded by weeks of heightened tensions between the forces in the capital surrounding lingering delays in implementing the peace agreement.
Over a four-day period, the two sides battled in several locations around Juba. Human Rights Watch researchers in Juba heard accounts of soldiers firing indiscriminately, hitting densely populated areas or displaced people’s camps inside UN bases. At least a dozen civilians who had sought safety in the UN camps died and scores were wounded.
Between July 8th and the 11th, there were already widespread human rights abuses amongst the tribal violence that had erupted, the new round of violence upsetting South Sudan’s fragile peace process.
In a conversation with Rex Knight, a SOFREP contributing writer with extensive experience in South Sudan, he was able to elaborate on key aspects of the July 11th attack. “The UN and US embassies were both terrified,” Knight said. “The embassy has absolutely no strike assets available.” Meanwhile, the US embassy (which was about two miles away from the attacks on NGO workers) had its Regional Security Officer (RSO) who is a former Ranger and Green Beret, depart back home just a few days prior to the assault. The embassy does not have a Marine Security Guard force but just some third country national contractors, a frightening echo from Benghazi.
As for the United Nations, it is well known that their forces are worse than useless. Most of them consist of soldiers from countries like Kenya and Uganda who are volunteered to serve the UN mission in Sudan for one reason and one reason only, cold hard cash. These troops hardly make any money serving in their home countries but when employed by the UN they make 500 dollars a day. With little interest in their mission, one has to ask who the real mercenaries are in this situation?
Another controversy that has come from the July 11th attack is exactly who the bad actors where who went on a rampage against NGO workers. Some have described them as members of the Presidential Guard. Rex Knight stated that the Presidential Guard is issued a very distinct Tiger Stripe uniform similar to what American soldiers wore during the Vietnam war. When the uniforms were first issued, it was discovered that many had been stolen and reports began to emerge that criminals were disguising themselves as the Presidential Guard by wearing those uniforms.
However, he did not discount that there may very well be rogue elements of the Presidential Guard who carried out the attacks. At the moment, few people are talking about who they really were or what their motivations entailed. “The US is requesting that those people are found and brought to justice but that is kind of a empty request,” Knight said, knowing that there is not much in South Sudan in terms of rule of law.
As for the local security contractor who rescued 80 NGO workers that night, he prefers to remain in the shadows and keep his role as low key as possible in order to not attract reprisals.