The African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the UN Country Team in Sudan are deeply concerned about the looting and destruction of premises and property belonging to the World Vision and World Food Programme operating in Graida, South Darfur on 19 and 20 June and call on the Government of Sudan to take immediate corrective action to bring perpetrators of these incidents to book. These are senseless acts of aggression on humanitarian staff who are in the area to provide much needed relief and support to the most vulnerable people.

On 19 June, a group of protestors invaded the offices of the INGO World Vision International (WVI) and destroyed several properties. The protestors also ransacked the Graida office of World Food Program (WFP), where an unspecified amount of money was stolen, and four vehicles vandalized.

“This behaviour is totally unacceptable, especially the looting and destruction of humanitarian property causing serious disruption to the work of humanitarians providing lifesaving assistance to the most vulnerable people of Graida. These actions constitute a blatant violation of international humanitarian law,” Gwi-Yeop Son, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, stated.

UNAMID Joint Special Representative/Joint Chief Mediator, Jeremiah Mamabolo, on his part, decries the limited support, if any, accorded to UN entities in the face of such dangerous attacks that inevitably place the lives of its staff and local citizenry at risk in Sudan.

“This looting incident in Graida comes just a few weeks after a similar intrusion took place in El Geneina, west Darfur. Such wanton destruction of UN property and assets cannot continue with impunity. The UN further reminds the Government of Sudan, as a member of the United Nations, and its citizenry in general, that they have a standing obligation to protect UN and other international staff operating in their country, including the organisation’s assets. It is the responsibility of the Government of Sudan to be accountable and to protect all UN staff operating within Sudanese borders, “JSR Mamabolo emphasised.

Although the situation has now been brought under control and evacuated UN staff safely arrived in Nyala, south Darfur, the UN in Sudan reminds all concerned about the critical need for civilians to respect humanitarians as they provide assistance to the most vulnerable in Darfur and the rest of Sudan.

UNAMID continues to monitor the situation and taking appropriate measures to continue to facilitate humanitarian access in in Darfur, in line with its protection of civilians’ responsibilities as mandated by the United Nations Security Council.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).