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Sudan: Food looted in Darfur, 730,000 people left without

The UN chief condemned on Wednesday the looting and attacks against United Nations facilities, equipment and supplies gifted to the Sudanese authorities for civilians in El Fasher, Darfur. 

Last Tuesday evening, a World Food Programme (WFPwarehouse located in the Borsa area of El Fasher town, the capital of North Darfur State, came under attack from unknown armed groups.

Over 1,900 metric tons of food commodities that were meant to feed 730,000 vulnerable people for a month were stolen.

The incident followed the looting and reported violence last week at the former UN-African Union Hybrid Operation (UNAMID) base in El Fasher.

Restore order 

In his statementSecretary-General António Guterres called upon the Government of Sudan to restore order.

He stressed that the authorities must ensure that former UNAMID property and assets are strictly used for civilians – in conformity with the Framework Agreement the Government signed in March.

The UN chief also asked the Sudanese authorities to facilitate a safe working environment and passage for remaining UN operations in the region.

He concluded by thanking the UN civilian and uniformed personnel who remain on the ground under “challenging” circumstances.

Humanitarian crisis 

The incident followed the looting and reported violence last week at the former UN-African Union Hybrid Operation (UNAMID) base in El Fasher

The Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Khardiata Lo N’diaye, also condemned the looting.

“This was food assistance meant for Sudan’s most vulnerable people. Humanitarian assistance should never be a target”, she underscored.

Currently, one in three people in Sudan needs humanitarian assistance – equivalent to an estimated 14.3 million individuals.

According to the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, 25 per cent of those people require food security and livelihoods support.

An attack like this, the coordinator explained, severely impedes the ability to deliver to the people who need it the most.

“We urgently ask all parties to adhere to humanitarian principles and allow the safe delivery of life-saving assistance”, Ms N’diaye stated.

WFP currently faces “unprecedented” funding shortfalls, estimated at $358 million.

Violence 

Earlier in the month, thousands of people took to the streets to mark the third anniversary of the uprising that led to the April 2019 overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir, who had ruled for three decades.

Demonstrators who made for the presidential palace were also protesting October’s military coup and the political agreement signed later on 21 November.

UN officials and agencies expressed deep concern at the time over credible reports of serious human rights violations, including the use of rape and gang rape of women and girls, employed to disperse protesters.

As of 29 December, the security situation had been restored, according to State authorities.

Ms N’diaye thanked the local authorities for preventing the situation from worsening but called upon the Government to step up efforts to protect and safeguard humanitarian premises and assets.

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