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Darfur bandits kill one WPF truck driver in South Darfur

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April 24, 2008 (KHARTOUM) – Once again a relief trucker was killed by armed bandits in the war-torn Darfur region jeopardizing seriously the delivery of food to the over two millions internally displaced persons there.

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WFP humanitarian covoy in Sudan (WFP)

The UN World Food Programme said today that a truck driver was killed in South Darfur State while transporting vital food relief, the second such killing in two months.

Mohamed Makki El Rasheed, 58, was shot and killed on 21 April on a main transport route between North and South Darfur. This follows the killing of driver Mohamed Ali on 24 March, while transporting food in South Darfur.

Mohamed Makki was traveling in a police-escorted convoy when his truck broke down 40 km north of Nyala town. He went to Nyala to get spare parts and returned to fix the vehicle. Attackers shot and killed him and injured a guard who had accompanied him.

The WFP, due to the increased banditry, will cut the monthly ration in Darfur by 42 per cent of its kilocalorie value. In May, cereals, pulses and sugar will be cut by half, while vegetable oil, salt and high-nutrient corn soya blend will remain at regular ration levels.

WFP truck convoys are currently delivering only half as much food to Darfur as is needed, because banditry has slowed the turnaround time for trucks. Only 900 metric tons (mt) a day is arriving at WFP warehouses, when deliveries should be 1800 mt a day.

The WFP called upon the rebel groups in Darfur to ensure safety of food convoys in the controlled areas in order to guarantee the arrival of food relief to the population in need. The UN relief body is also asking the government to increase the number of police escorts for WFP convoys.

Due to the lack of money the WFP said airlifts are a contingency if things become even more serious but airlifts of food supplies are not planned for May.

60 WFP contracted trucks and six passenger vehicles have been hijacked since the start of the year, with 39 trucks still missing and 26 drivers unaccounted for. Two drivers have been killed in Darfur. A total 709 mt of food have been stolen.

In Unity State, southern Sudan, three WFP contracted drivers and one driver’s assisted were killed in two separate incidents on 22 March and 7 April.

(ST)

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