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World Food Program Ceases Operations in Sudan Following Tragic Loss of Three Employees

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The United Nations food agency has temporarily suspended all operations in Sudan after three of its staff were killed Sunday in clashes that erupted a day earlier between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

“While we review the evolving security situation, we are forced to temporarily halt all operations in Sudan,” WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain said in a statement.

“The World Food Program is committed to helping the Sudanese people facing severe food insecurity, but we cannot carry out our life-saving work if the safety and security of our teams and partners is not guaranteed.”

Three World Food Program staff were killed and two injured in clashes in Kabkabiya, North Darfur. A spokesman for the World Food Program told Reuters that the three dead were all Sudanese.

McCain also said it was difficult for WFP staff to operate after a United Nations Humanitarian Air Service plane was “severely damaged” at Khartoum airport in Sudan during an exchange of fire on Saturday.

He said the accident seriously affected the organization’s ability to transport humanitarian workers and aid in Sudan.

Earlier Sunday, the United Nations condemned the killing of WFP employees, saying they died while carrying out their duties.

Volker Perthes, head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission (UNITAMS), which was established in 2020 to support Sudan’s democratic transition, said in a statement that he was “appalled by reports that projectiles have hit UN buildings and other humanitarian buildings, as well. As reports of Looting of United Nations buildings and other humanitarian headquarters in several locations in Darfur.”

A power struggle between the Sudanese army and the RSF has so far resulted in the deaths of 56 civilians and the injury of 595 people, including combatants.

On Saturday, the clashes erupted between units of the army loyal to Major General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, led by Major General Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hamidti.

It was the first outbreak of its kind since the two sides joined forces to overthrow President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in a coup in 2021.

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