WFP halts food aid in South Sudan

2011-04-28 11:11
Juba - The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Wednesday it had suspended operations in two states in South Sudan because of insecurity, deepening the region's crisis ahead of its independence in July.

A WFP staffer was killed in an ambush in Jonglei state this week, forcing the WFP to suspend aid to seven of 11 counties in the state beset by clashes between the army and rebels.

The WFP said the south Sudan army (SPLA) also commandeered a lorry full of food aid destined for schools in Lakes state, prompting a full suspension there.

The halt will deny rations to some 235 000 people.

The oil-producing south voted in January to separate from the north and form a new nation, the climax of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war in Africa's largest nation. The conflict claimed at least two million lives.

Since the historic vote, the underdeveloped south has been beset by violence and insecurity. The United Nations says more than 800 people have died this year in clashes across nine of the south's 10 states, displacing nearly 100 000 people.

Analysts say the violence - including rampant cattle rustling, tribal clashes over land and water, several rebel militia fighting to overthrow the government - risks making the south a failed state and destabilising the region.

Oil production

An additional problem is the oil-producing Abyei region, which straddles north and south Sudan and is claimed by both sides.

"In Jonglei state we have suspended operations in seven out of 11 counties, this will affect 135 000 people who are in need of food rations," said Amor Almagro, a WFP spokesperson.

"In Lakes state 100 000 people will be affected ... 5 000 school children will not get their school lunch because the truck that was carrying the food was commandeered by the SPLA."

Almagro said WFP distribution would not resume until there was a government guarantee "that our colleagues and staff and our assets will be protected and we will not be prevented from providing humanitarian assistance".

In nearby Unity state a rebel militia began fighting the SPLA last week, and more than 100 fighters have been killed, according to the army. The clashes disrupted oil production in the state, officials said, but they could not provide figures.

During the clashes, officials expelled then re-admitted north Sudanese workers from oil areas in the state, showing how insecurity threatens oil output, Sudan's economic lifeblood.

Problems of security

Gideon Gatpan Thoar, information minister in Unity state, said on Wednesday that 113 workers had now returned of the 318 who left, and production had been steady in their absence.

"The others will come back. We have assured oil companies that workers will be safe," he told Reuters, adding that the northern workers had only been removed for their own saftey.

Independence for south Sudan, with a population of some eight million, is less than three months away.

The intense rainy season is just beginning, which will compound the problems of insecurity and aid because much of the territory becomes inaccessible.

The south and north fought for all but a few years from 1955 to 2005 over differences in ethnicity, religion, ideology and oil. Most of the 500 000 barrels of oil per day comes from the south, and the future revenue shareout has not been decided.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    wfp  |  sudan  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Du Preez: Pollard's drop-goal was vital
SA-born Kruger starts against Boks
Boks up to No 4 in rankings
Hooper cited over shoulder charge
Traffic Alerts

It is time to focus on your daily rhythm. Are you putting too much attention on future projects and neglecting the day to more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.