Panafrican News Agency

UN condemns harassment of staff, looting of premises in North Darfur

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The United Nations on Friday condemned the harassment of humanitarian staff and looting of humanitarian premises in the restive region of North Darfur, saying such actions are more than disturbing to the international body.

“This emerging trend of harassment of UN and NGO staff and subsequent looting and vandalization of UN and NGO premises and assets is not only very disturbing but totally uncalled for," UNAMID’s Joint Special Representative/Joint Chief Mediator, Jeremiah Mamabolo stated in a press release received by PANA in Khartoum on Friday.

"UN and NGO staff are in Darfur to provide critical humanitarian and peacekeeping support in the region and deserve the full support and appreciation from the communities they serve,” he said.

UNAMID, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, is a joint African Union and United Nations peacekeeping mission.

The official was reacting to reports his organization has received about the “wanton destruction of property” in Kabkabiya, North Darfur.

UNAMID said on 22 January, a large crowd of men, women and children harassed staff from the International Organization of Migration (IOM) who were on mission to distribute non-food items to victims of flooding that occurred in Kabkabiya, North Darfur last October.

The distribution commenced on 20 January at the premises of an implementing partner and was supposed to conclude on 22 January.

However, towards the end of the distribution programme, looters attacked the IOM staff alleging that they were not included in the distribution matrix. It was later reported that the premises of five other local NGOs were also looted.

The release added that later in the day, government security forces intervened whilst UNAMID’s Pakistan contingent based in the area, also secured the World Food Programme (WFP) premises and four local staff remaining in the offices.

“We appeal to both federal and state government authorities to thoroughly investigate above incidents and bring all persons responsible for these unwarranted actions to book,” Mamabolo added.

Meanwhile the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Gwi-Yeop Son, has also condemned the attacks on humanitarian offices, assets and looting of humanitarian supplies in Kabkabiya.

“I condemn these acts and call upon the Government authorities to launch a swift investigation and bring those responsible to account,” Ms. Son said.

“Attacks against humanitarian actors and operations endanger lives, violate the protection of civilians, including humanitarian workers, under international humanitarian law, and jeopardise the provision of life-saving aid to people in need.”

Over the past year there were several other incidents of looting of humanitarian supplies in Darfur.

The release stressed that UNAMID continues to monitor the situation and will take taking appropriate measures to continue to facilitate humanitarian access in Darfur, in line with its protection of civilians’ responsibilities as mandated by the United Nations Security Council.

-0- PANA MO/MA 24Jan2020