Sudan: UN chief condemns looting, attacks on UN facilities, equipment in Darfur

UNITED NATIONS— United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned looting and attacks on UN facilities and equipment in Darfur, which were gifted to the government of Sudan for civilian use.

Unknown armed groups attacked a World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur State, on Tuesday evening.

A total of 1,900 metric tons of food commodities, enough to feed 730,000 vulnerable people for a month, were stolen.

Earlier this week, looting and violence were reported at the former UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) base in El Fasher.

The UN chief urged Sudan to restore order in his statement.

The authorities must ensure that former UNAMID properties and assets are used only for civilian purposes, according to the framework agreement the government signed in March.

Furthermore, the UN head asked the Sudanese authorities to facilitate a safe working environment and passage for remaining UN operations in the region.

As a final note, he thanked the UN civilian and uniformed personnel who remain on the ground under “challenging” conditions.

Khardiata Lo N’Diaye, the humanitarian coordinator in Sudan, condemned the looting as well.

“This was food assistance meant for Sudan’s most vulnerable people. Humanitarian assistance should never be a target,” she underscored.

Sudan currently has one in three people in need of humanitarian assistance – an estimated 14.3 million people. Twenty-five percent of those people require food security and livelihood support, according to the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan.

A situation like this, the coordinator explained, severely hinders the ability to provide aid to those in need.

“We urgently ask all parties to adhere to humanitarian principles and allow the safe delivery of life-saving assistance,” N’Diaye stated.

According to estimates, the WFP faces “unprecedented” funding shortfalls of 358 million U.S. dollars.

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 former President Omar al-Bashir.

State authorities reported that the security situation has been restored as of Dec 29.

N’diaye thanked the local authorities for preventing the situation from worsening, but urged the government to step up efforts to protect and safeguard humanitarian properties and assets.