The U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) has suspended its operations in Sudan’s North Darfur due to attacks on its warehouses in the region, potentially affecting up to 2 million people.
According to the WFP, the attacks on its warehouses in El Fasher began on Dec. 28, with looting continuing into Dec. 30. More than 5,000 metric tons of food were taken according to the organization and part of the warehouse structures were also dismantled.
“WFP is outraged by these senseless attacks and condemns the continued looting of assistance and the destruction of its assets in the strongest possible terms. As a result, we have been forced to suspend WFP operations in North Darfur, effective immediately,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said in a statement.
“This theft has robbed nearly two million people of the food and nutrition support they so desperately need. Not only is this a tremendous setback to our operations across the country, but it endangers our staff and jeopardizes our ability to meet the needs of the most vulnerable families,” said Beasley.
The stolen stock cannot be replenished using what is currently in Sudan without threatening assistance meant for people in other parts of the country.
The WFP called on the Sudanese government to provide security, recover the looted food and to ensure that operation can safely resume.
The Associated Press reported that some suspects in the looting were arrested in El Fasher after they were seen driving trucks and animal-drawn carts loaded with food stock.