Armed gangs looted a United Nations World Food Programme warehouse and buildings a former peacekeeping force used in Sudan’s North Darfur province, prompting authorities to impose a night curfew on Wednesday.
According to initial reports, the warehouse in El Fasher was looted by an armed group (didn’t mention their names) on Tuesday. The container included up to 1,900 tonnes of food destined for hundreds of thousands of people in the area.
According to some reports, they looted and burnt the stores, and gunfire could be heard by one of the warehouse residents on Wednesday.
“In Sudan, one out of every three people requires humanitarian help. Such an act jeopardises our ability to distribute aid to those who need it the most, according to UN humanitarian coordinator Khardiata Lo N’diaye.
“We called upon the government of Sudan to step up some initiatives to protect and safeguards humanitarian premises and assets throughout Sudan,” she said.
Over the last year, there has been a significant spike in violence in Darfur, which humanitarian workers and observers attribute to armed factions jockeying for the position following the signing of a peace accord with some rebel groups in the late 2020s as the return of shooters from neighbouring Libya.
In preparation for a full pullout, the peacekeepers from the combined UN-African Union operation United Nations-African Union Mission (UNAMID) halted patrolling on January 1, 2021.
Its facilities have been robbed on numerous occasions, including those at El Fasher, which were looted from Friday through Monday.
A Sudanese national force to replace UNAMID has yet to be deployed, and a coup in October upended a national transition toward democratic elections, adding to the region’s future instability.
The coordination Committee for Refugee and Displacement Camps, an NGO, the looting was blamed on militias and armed organisations affiliated with Khartoum’s leadership.
Many of the displaced were forced to flee their homes when the military and associated militias swept into Darfur in 2002 to fight an insurgency that claimed the lives of an estimated 300,000 people.