Sudan releases shipment of supplies for UN peacekeepers

Sudan's government allows containers to reach peacekeepers after accusing international peacekeeping force UNAMID of violating legal terms concerning shipment of supplies

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Late last year Khartoum ordered UNAMID out of Sudan after it began investigating an alleged mass rape by Sudanese soldiers in Darfur.

The Sudanese govenment has started releasing food containers and other supplies for international peacekeepers in the violent Darfur region, though still more than 200 containers are yet to be cleared, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

The seizing of the shipments had generated tension between the UN and Khartoum, with Sudan accusing the UN-African Union mission (UNAMID) of ignoring legal procedures.

The United Nations and the UN Security Council accused the Sudanese authorities of withholding supplies for UNAMID, making it more difficult for nearly 20,000 peacekeeping troops and police to carry out their tasks. 

UN spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement, "UNAMID reports that 52 containers have been released by Sudan and are presently being loaded and moved by the contractor to Khartoum from Port Sudan."

"A further 91 containers are currently being processed while the remaining 60 are at different stages of the clearance process," he added.

UN officials claim that Sudan justified the holding of the containers by saying that UNAMID, which stated operating in 2007, did not have full clearance for the shipment.

Sudan's ambassador to the UN Omer Dahab Mohamed put the blame on UNAMID chief Abiodun Bashua. Mohamed told Reuters that Boshua "intentionally ignored and surpassed" agreed mechanisms for dealing with issues such as the shipments and the issuance of visas.

UNAMID, he said, passed on "incomplete and out-of context information which led to bringing the issue to the highest political organ of the UN, the Security Council."

A UNAMID official rejected the accusation and said UNAMID abided by procedures and other rules.

An insurgency is continuing in the region of Dafur and Khartoum continues to launch attacks targeting rebels groups.

According to the United Nations, at least 300,000 people have been killed, some 4.4 million need aid and more than 2.5 million have been displaced as a result of the Darfur conflict which began in 2003. 

TRTWorld and agencies