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Darfur peacekeeping mission condemns murder of WFP driver

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April 27, 2008 (EL FASHER) – The UN-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force (UNAMID) condemned today the killing of a UN WFP driver in South Darfur last week.

"UNAMID is deeply shocked and profoundly disturbed by the cold-blooded murder of Mohamed Makki El Rasheed, a truck driver working for United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday 21 April 2008." Said a statement issed by UNAMID today.

The perpetrators killed Makki after he had returned to repair his vehicle that had broken down between North and South Darfur while it was on a police-escorted WFP convoy carrying food relief. The perpetrators also injured a security guard accompanying the driver.

The murder of the WFP driver, the second of its kind in two months, comes when UNAMID and the international community are extremely concerned by the deteriorating banditry situation that led to the recent WFP announcement on cutting down the monthly ration in Darfur.

The joint peacekeeping mission urged all parties concerned to join it in calling for an immediate end to such attacks. The mission also urged the local authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

UNAMID has repeatedly called on the parties to the Darfur conflict to exert efforts to ensure the safe passage of relief supplies to the Darfuris affected by the conflict in order to help alleviate their suffering.

Criminality and banditry in Darfur have resulted in sixty WFP contracted trucks and six passenger vehicles hijacked since the start of the year, with 39 trucks still missing, 26 drivers unaccounted for and two drivers killed. Bandits have also stolen a total of 709 metric tons of food.

The UN reported a total of 113 hijackings of humanitarian vehicles (including WFP contracted vehicles), 10 attacks on convoys and 46 armed assaults against humanitarian and UN compounds. Seven humanitarian staff have been killed (including two WFP contract drivers) and eight injured.

(ST)

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