The United Nations mission in Sudan said today that three employees of the World Food Program (WFP) were killed on Saturday during clashes that broke out in North Darfur, amid fighting between the army and the powerful paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces. (FAR).
”Three World Food Program (WFP) employees were killed in clashes that broke out in Kabkabiya, North Darfur, on April 15 while on duty”the UN mission said in a statement.
The representative of the mission in Sudan, Volker Perthes, He “strongly condemned the attacks against United Nations personnel”conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims and expressed his “extreme concern” over the “reports of projectiles hitting UN facilities” during the fighting.
However, he did not specify how the WFP workers died, an organization that was the target of sporadic attacks by armed groups even before the rebellion broke out.
Perthes also denounced that there is “reports” of “looting of UN facilities and other humanitarian facilities in various locations in Darfur,” calling it “recurring acts of violence” that “disrupt the delivery of life-saving assistance and must stop”.
“The safety of staff and contractors is paramount, and when incidents like this occur, it is the women, men and children who desperately need assistance who suffer the most,” said the representative, calling on the warring parties to “respect its international obligations”, as well as guaranteeing the security of UN personnel and facilities.
“I reiterate: civilians and humanitarian aid workers are not a target,” he said.
According to the United Nations, around 16 million people, that is to say a third of the population of Sudan, depend on humanitarian assistance.
Clashes between the Army and the FAR broke out on Saturday morning and, according to Sudan’s Central Medical Committee, have so far left more than 50 civilians dead and nearly 600 injured throughout the country.
The association warned that these figures were recorded within hospitals and health centers, so they could rise considerably as there are victims affected in isolated regions of Sudan to which the Medical Committee does not have access.
World Food Program
WFP has decided to temporarily suspend its operations in Sudan following the deaths of its employees, Cindy McCain, the agency’s Executive Director, said today.
”As we review the evolving security situation, we are forced to temporarily halt all operations in Sudan”, he said in a statement.
McCain was “shocked and heartbroken by the tragic death of three WFP employees on Saturday April 15 in violence in Kabkabiya, Northern Darfur, while doing their life-saving work on the front lines of the global hunger crisis,” in an incident in which two other workers were injured.
“We have informed the families of these dedicated team members and stand in solidarity with them and our entire WFP family at this time of disaster,” he added.
McCain demanded “immediate measures to guarantee the safety of those who remain”, insisting that “any loss of life in humanitarian service is unacceptable and I demand, humanitarian workers are neutral and should never be targeted. The threats to our teams make it impossible to operate safely and effectively in the country and carry out the critical work of WFP.”
The clashes broke out this Saturday, when, after weeks of tension, the FAR accused the Sudanese Army of launching an action against one of its bases in Khartoum, while the Armed Forces assured that they carried it out in response to an attack that the FAR had carried out. previously held in the Sudanese capital.
”In a separate incident, a United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) plane, managed by WFP, was also extensively damaged at Khartoum International Airport during an exchange of fire on 15 April, severely affecting WFP’s ability to move humanitarian workers and aid within the country”McCain added in the note.
WFP “is committed to helping the Sudanese people who are facing severe food insecurity, but we cannot carry out our life-saving work without ensuring the safety of our teams and partners,” he said.
And he urged “all parties must reach an agreement that guarantees the safety of humanitarian workers on the ground and allows them to continue providing life-saving humanitarian aid to the people of Sudan. They remain our top priority.”
(with information from EFE)
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