April 23, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The spokesperson of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Aicha Elbasri, announced her resignation on Tuesday eight months after her appointment, saying she was blocked from accessing information.
“I resigned from my post because I wasn’t receiving the support I needed in terms of access to information in a timely manner, including the accurate and up-to-date information the media was asking for”, Elbasri told Radio Dabanga.
Violence in the strife-torn Darfur region has continued to escalate since her appointment on 22 August 2012, with reports of looting, killing, bombing, rape and other human rights abuses.
UNAMID has also come under increased criticism amid accusations it was failing in its mandate to protect the lives of civilians.
The Jebel Marra area in North Darfur has been the scene of fierce fighting since January between the Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes over control of the region’s lucrative gold mines.
The tribal clashes resulted in the mass displacement of an estimated 100,000 people.
In a stark statistic for the strife-torn region, the number of civilians displaced in Darfur by the increase of violence in January is more than the total figures for 2012.
The agency was also in the news last week after a Nigerian peacekeeper was shot dead and two other injured in an attack on the UNAMID base in Muhajeria, East Darfur by unknown assailants on 19 April.
Elbasri, a Moroccan national who speaks three languages, holds a PhD and is a published author and former contributor to several newspapers and magazines in the region.
Her appointment as UNAMID spokesperson was her second posting in Sudan, previously serving as the communications manager for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) between 2005 and 2009.
Before joining UNAMID, Elbasri was the head of publications of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (2010-2012) and also served as a press officer at the news and media division of the department of public information at the UN.
Since her appointment, the agency now provides press statements both in Arabic and English.
UNAMID has yet to make any comment on Elbasri’s resignation.