UNITED NATIONS Oct 21 Sudan has begun releasing
food rations and other supplies for international peacekeepers
in the conflict-torn Darfur region, though some of the more than
200 shipping containers have yet to be cleared by Khartoum, the
United Nations said on Wednesday.
Last week the world body and members of the U.N. Security
Council accused the Sudanese government of withholding the
supplies for the U.N.-African Union mission (UNAMID), making it
difficult for its nearly 20,000 troops and police to do their
“UNAMID reports that 52 containers have been released by the
Sudanese authorities and are presently being loaded and moved by
the contractor to Khartoum from Port Sudan,” U.N. spokesman
Farhan Haq said in a statement.
“A further 91 containers are currently being processed while
the remaining 60 are at different stages of the clearance
process,” he added.
The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when mainly non-Arab
tribes took up arms against the Arab-led government in Khartoum,
accusing it of discrimination.
According to the United Nations, as many as 300,000 people
have been killed, some 4.4 million people need aid and more than
2.5 million are displaced. Although the killings have eased, but
the insurgency continues and Khartoum has sharply escalated
attacks on rebel groups over the past year.
U.N. officials and diplomats said Khartoum had justified
holding the containers by saying that UNAMID, which began
operations. in 2007, did not have proper clearance for the
Sudan’s U.N. mission did not have an immediate response when
contacted by Reuters.
The United Nations had said the holdup involved mostly food
rations but also a few containers with what it described as
essential “operational supplies.” Diplomats told Reuters that
the operational supplies included communications equipment
(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau Editing by; W Simon)