Sunday, December 12, 2004

British Oxfam boss has left Sudan - Travel ban on some Sudanese

Reuters UK confirms the head of charity Oxfam in Sudan, Shaun Skelton, has left the country, days after Sudanese officials ordered him to leave for working under a wrong visa.

Last month, Sudan tried to expel Mr Skelton and a director of Save the Children UK. Sudanese officials had accused Oxfam and Save the Children UK of dealing in political affairs, which broke the law, and of making statements it said indicated their support for the rebels.

The month before last, two members of staff from Save the Children UK were tragically killed by a landmine (freshly laid by the rebels) on 10 October in North Darfur.

Expelling aid officials was not "the way to treat those of us who come there to help," UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland told journalists on Wednesday.
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Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osmal Ismail said a travel ban is already in effect, as entry visas are now denied except to him and officials travelling to participate in meetings of international bodies, like the World Bank and the United Nations.

"If they want to impose the ban on the excepted officials, we are going to reciprocate and will see which side will be harmed," Ismail warned. [Here's guessing this could also mean aid workers].

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