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Sudan calls for international pressure for humanitarian access to rebel areas

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February 12, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese foreign ministry Thursday accused the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) of killing three aid workers in Blue Nile State and urged international pressure to allow humanitarian access to the rebel held area.

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Sudanese refugees wait to board a truck heading to Batil refugee camp in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state on 15 July 2012 (Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Unidentified armed men ambushed a team of the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) heading to the Blue Nile state capital Ed Damazin on 8 February killing three and seriously injured another.

Riding a vehicle marked by the red crescent emblem, the team members were returning from an aid distribution operation in Kurmuk when the attack occurred. The incident was condemned by the UN, EU and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The foreign ministry spokesperson Youssef al-Kordofani praised the international condemnation of the attack and claimed that the SPLM-N carried out the bloody attack.

The foreign ministry expresses “its appreciation for the broad international condemnation from many countries and international organisations for this unfortunate incident,” al-Kordofani told the official Sudanese news Agency SUNA.

He further appealed to “the international community to exercise the necessary pressure on the rebel movement to allow humanitarian aid access for the needy and the vaccination of children in the South Kordofan state”.

Talks between the two warring parties in the Tow Areas failed to reach a cessation of hostilities allowing aid groups to reach the affected civilians in the rebel held areas.

When the conflict erupted three year ago, the Sudanese authorities imposed a ban on aid groups in South Kordofan and Blue Nile saying rebel groups would benefit from the humanitarian assistance.

Ever since, the talks are focused on how to control the distribution of food and relief material to the civilians in the rebel held areas. Also, the two parties failed to implement a tripartite agreement on the humanitarian aid.

UN resident and humanitarian coordinator a.i. in Sudan, Adnan Khan, earlier this week; condemned the ambush and underlined that “attacks on clearly marked humanitarian aid vehicles jeopardise the delivery of relief assistance and constitute a violation of the International Humanitarian Law”.

94 aid workers, both national and international, were killed in Sudan (mainly in the Darfur) between 2003 and January 2015. Also nearly 200 workers were wounded during the same period, according to the Aid Workers Security Database (AWSD).

(ST)

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