NP in South Sudan is deeply worried about the safety and security of 4 of our colleagues who have been unaccounted for a number of days. Mary, Rebecca, Michael and Duop are national protection officers serving in the Koch team in southern Unity. All 4 are from that area, living with their families when they were hired by NP last December, to join the team. Since that time, they have worked alongside their international counterparts to serve the people of Koch County. When the fighting returned to southern Unity, by complete coincidence all of the international colleagues were away. Mary, Rebecca, Michael and Duop, in regular contact with the Juba office, informed us that they had decided to join the rest of their community and families, to move out into the bush and away from the impending fighting. They were able to keep in phone contact with us for a number of days, updating us on their wellbeing and the unfolding situation. Unfortunately, the battery on the phone they were using was running down and, as they had retreated into the swamp, there was no way to charge it. We are all very concerned for them and are working to find out where they are.
We know that when you read the news about war and disaster, it can be hard to relate to the people behind the statistics. With this in mind, we want to introduce you to our friends and colleagues who are among these "statistics". Mary, Rebecca, Michael and Duop are part of our NP family and we want you to know them as the people they are. The following was written by International Protection Officer, and member of the Koch team, Jonathan Moore about his good friend and colleague Duop.
– South Sudan Country Director Tiffany Easthom
Since December 2014 Duop has been a part of our team in Unity State, South Sudan. He was hired along with three other members of our national staff to act as a National Protection Officer. Over the past six months, Duop and I have become good friends. We have walked hundreds of kilometers together and grown closer with every step. His passion for his work and his community has been an inspiration and has taught me more than I can explain in a few short words. The people in his community call me 'brother of Duop'. I am proud to be called the brother of this man, who has lived a life that few can imagine.
Duop was forcefully recruited into the military at the age of 10. He spent his youth without a family, footing his way across East Africa, with a military force whose language he didn't speak, taking orders and being bullied because he was small.