SUDAN WATCH: Insecurity increases - UN food agency suspends food convoys to Sudan's Darfur region

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Insecurity increases - UN food agency suspends food convoys to Sudan's Darfur region

The latest from the UK Press Association (PA) via Reuters confirms the UN World Food Program has suspended food convoys to Darfur after rebel forces attacked the market town of Ghubaysh and the government retaliated.

WFP halted 3 convoys of 70 trucks carrying more than 1,300 tonnes of food destined for the capitals of North and South Darfur state, the UN's OCHA said Tuesday.

The attack Monday on Ghubaysh in West Kordofan follows weeks of insecurity in Darfur in which the warring parties have attacked each other. It was the second attack by the SLA rebel since Dec. 19 when the Sudanese government agreed to an immediate cessation of hostilities, UN officials said.

The recent insecurity has blocked access from central Sudan to Darfur for UN and other relief agencies, OCHA said. As a result, some 260,000 people will miss their December rations in South Darfur as well as eastern parts of West Darfur, it said.

The UN said it also was concerned about reports that Darfur-based rebel forces have stolen 13 commercial all-terrain trucks leased to WFP and loaded with food in the last two weeks.

These thefts are in addition to multiple losses of commercial and aid-agency vehicles to armed groups in recent months, OCHA said. More alarming are reports that the rebel group that stole them may now be using some of these trucks for military purposes, it said.

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