Khartoum blocking aid to parts of the Darfur region

11 December 2003
Residents and refugees living in Sudan's western Darfur region are being denied access to security and food, a senior UN official said on 11 December. 'Access is certainly being denied and security is no doubt an important reason,' said UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Sudan Mukesh Kapila. 'However, because the clearance system for travel permits does not appear to have adequate transparency we cannot tell whether a denial to travel is based entirely on the grounds of security or whether there are other reasons for denying access.'

Kapila added that areas in control of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) had not received medical aid for a number of months and had only received limited food deliveries, but that the rebel group may be to blame for the shortages. 'One must say there is a prima facie case that some of the denials of access may well be related to the discomfort of the parties concerned to allow international witnesses,' he said, referring to any supervision that would need to accompany food deliveries.

The acting governor in Nyala, in the Darfur region, Adam Idris al-Silaik, said that getting aid to many people in remote areas was often just too dangerous. 'I agree that transparency is important, but we as a government assure you that the non-governmental organisations are our guests and we are supposed to protect them,' he said. He added that the rebel tribal groups, locally called 'Janjaweed militias', were nothing more than a 'group of thieves' (MEED 27:10:03).

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