Gunmen in Sudan have looted a World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse housing some 1,900 tonnes of food aid in Darfur amid a violence surge in the troubled western region, officials have said.
According to El-Fasher residents – the capital of North Darfur state- there was heavy shooting around the warehouse late Tuesday.
“We heard intense gunfire,” Mohamed Salem told AFP.
A WFP official revealed that they were “conducting an audit into what was stolen from the warehouse, which contains some 1,900 tonnes of food products”.
Since October, Darfur has seen a jump in conflict sparked by land, livestock disputes and access to grazing and water.
At least 250 people have been reported dead from the conflict between herders and farmers in the past few months.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says that tens of thousands have been pushed to flee their homes.
Presently, Sudan is also reeling from political turbulence in the face of a coup that was spearheaded by military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on October 25.
In a last week meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decried looting and violence near an ex-UN logistics base in El-Fasher that had been recently handed over to the local authorities.
A third of Sudan’s population, over 14 million people, will require humanitarian aid in 2022, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says.
This is the highest level of assistance required in a 10-year span.
A civil war that broke out in 2003 has ravaged Darfur pitting ethnic minority rebels who complained of discrimination against the Arab-dominated state.
Figures from the UN indicate that over 300,000 people died and 2.5 million displaced during the conflict.
A joint UN and African Union mission, UNAMID, ended 13 years of peacekeeping operations in Darfur in December 2020.