Authorities in Sudan’s North Darfur state have announced a night curfew after unidentified gunmen looted a World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse and facilities used by a former peacekeeping mission. In a statement, the United Nations said, more than 1,900 metric tonnes of food meant to feed 7,30,000 vulnerable people for a month were looted from the warehouse in the capital, El Fasher, the night before.
The base in El Fashir, one of Darfur’s largest towns, was run by the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and handed over to the local authorities on December 21.
“The camp was stormed and looted. The Sudanese authorities should have protected it,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General.
“One in three people in Sudan needs humanitarian assistance. Such an attack severely impedes our ability to deliver to the people who need it most,” U.N. humanitarian coordinator Khardiata Lo N’diaye said, adding, “We call upon the government of Sudan to step up efforts to protect and safeguard humanitarian premises and assets throughout Sudan.”
In past incidents, UN vehicles, food, furniture and money have been stolen in attacks on various missions in the sprawling region, including on the World Food Programme.
UNAMID was also providing the local communities with chemical disinfectants and water purifiers to meet drinking and cooking needs of hundreds of thousands of citizens. 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.