Robbery as a sign of progress?

Over the last few weeks in Juba, there have been gangs of robberies attacking NGO, civilian, and U.N. compounds for money and other valuables. They haven’t hurt anyone so far, but considering there were 3 attacks last night, there definitely doesn’t seem to be any end in their reign of madness. The crazy part is that they do not seem afraid of anyone. They have even attacked a place that was loaded with security guards, which says a lot as there are many compounds that are only ‘protected’ by one security guard at night and 99% of the time, said guard is usually sound asleep like the rest of us.

Someone mentioned that this is really new for Juba and those usually in the line security business now have to change their strategy. Over the last forever, Sudan has been an area of conflict with people fighting and dying for a one cause or the other. While people had to worry about bombs dropping on them or having to run to bush or neighboring country for safety, being afraid that a fellow compatriot would enter your home with a gun to rob you was just not the norm.

With a peace agreement in place (at least here in the south) and more NGOs and other agencies flooding in to help with the development of the country and private companies trying to lay their financial claims, Juba appears to be FULL of cash! Initially these companies and NGOs have mostly had a ‘let’s not get carried away’ security strategy. Walking the streets of Nairobi at night is generally regarded as significantly more dangerous than doing the same in Juba. In places like Nairobi (and even Mexico City), it seems every home has a well-armed security guard(s) making sure everyone can sleep soundly in their beds. The worse part is that this adds so much stress to living in a place!

So now with robberies taking place in the ‘safety’ that was Juba, everyone and their mother is trying to beef up their security procedures. Within two shakes and a rattle, Juba will be yet another reflection of any modern developing city where living without vigilant guards and a nonchalant attitude toward security could mean that you ‘wake up without a neck.’*

Is this really a step on the road to 'progress'?

*This is an expression used by a Kenyan when describing security in Nairobi.

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