01 2004


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SUDAN: “Still no news of the Sudanese humanitarian workers (3 of the WFP and 5 of the Sudanese Red Crescent) missing since last Saturday in Darfur”. This was the statement made to MISNA by Vichi de Marchi, press representative for Italy of the WFP (World Food Programme). Based on a reconstruction of events provided yesterday to MISNA by WFP sources, to be reiterated today in New York in a press conference, the two organisations lost all contacts with the convoy of the eight Sudanese aid workers last Saturday at around 3:p.m. The convoy was headed toward the village of Tongragra, 85km south of El Fasher (capital of northern Darfur), to evaluate the conditions of displaced living in a camp situated near the village.

Due to bad weather conditions, the joint WFP-Red Crescent rescue team has not been able to operate fully in searching for the missing aid workers. MISNA sources in fact confirmed that the helicopter was not able to take off from El Fasher to search the zone where they were last seen. This morning the leaders of the two rebel movements active in the western region of Darfur denied any involvement in the disappearance of the aid workers, rejecting allegations of “abduction” made yesterday by Khartoum in a statement issued by the Humanitarian Affairs ministry. “The zone in which the aid workers disappeared is not under our control, but under that of the government forces and the Janjaweed” (Arab militias reaping violence in the region), stated to the AFP Ahmed Mohammad Tugod, head of the JEM (Justice and Equality Movement), underlining to be speaking also on behalf of the other rebel group combating in Darfur, the SLA-M (Sudan Liberation Army-Movement). The Sudanese government today however returned to accuse the two armed groups, attributing them the abduction of 22 Sudanese sent to South Darfur for a vaccination campaign by Khartoum.

The abduction apparently took place in the area of Chaaria, south-west of Nyala, capital of the State of South Darfur, which along with the West and Northern States form the vast Sudanese desert region along the border with Chad, torn by clashes and violence for over a year and a half. A situation that is provoking what the UN defined as the “worse humanitarian crisis of the planet”, resulting in the internal displacement of over a million, nearly 200,000 refugees and tens of thousands of victims, only 5,000 according to Khartoum. [BO]


Source by Redazione

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