Sudan: Darfur authorities impose curfew after looting of UN base

Looting underlines persistent instability in the vast Sudanese region

A total of 3.7 million South Sudanese are “food insecure,” or unsure of where their next meal will come from, he said, out of a population of about 11 million.

Authorities in Sudan’s turbulent Darfur region imposed a night-time curfew in the northern part of the area on Wednesday, after armed attackers overran and looted a base the UN had jointly used with the African Union.

The base in the city of Al Fashir was run by the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (Unamid) and handed over to the local authorities on December 21. It was looted on December 24.

File photo: Children stand near an Egyptian United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) soldier standing guard in Al Fashir, northern Darfur, Sudan. AFP

A statement from the government of the North Darfur province where Al Fashir is located said the 6pm-5am curfew would go into immediate effect. The decision to impose a curfew, it said, was taken after a lengthy meeting of the province’s security committee.

The UN did not say what had been stolen in the weekend raid.

UN vehicles, food, furniture and money have been stolen in past attacks on various missions in Darfur.

UN officials have complained that Sudanese authorities should have protected the base.

The identity of the attackers in the December 24 raid was not known.

Aid supplies plundered

Separately, an unidentified armed group late on Tuesday attacked and looted a warehouse belonging to the World Food Program also in Al Fashir, according to Khardiata Lo Ndiaye, UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Sudan.

As many as 1,900 metric tons of food had been stored at the warehouse, meant to be distributed to people in need in the area, the WFP said on Wednesday.

“Such an attack severely impedes our ability to deliver to the people who need it the most,” Ms Lo Ndiaye said.

Sudan is one of the world's poorest counties, with at least 14.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.

Darfur has been hit by violence more than a decade after the end of a full-blown conflict there pitting the government and allied militias against ethnic Africans, who took up arms against what they saw as the racism and neglect shown to their region by the government of autocratic leader Omar Al Bashir.

Al Bashir, removed by a popular uprising in April 2019, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide during the Darfur conflict, which left some 350,000 people dead and displaced over two million, according to the UN.

Unamid completed its mandate on December 31, 2020, two months after the transitional government in Khartoum signed a peace deal with a coalition of rebel leaders to end strife in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile region.

The October 2020 accords, however, did not include powerful rebel groups that control vast swathes of territory in all three regions.

Updated: December 29th 2021, 6:18 PM