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Insecurity Continues in Darfur as Rainy Season Nears

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has just completed a visit to Sudan. He met with displaced people in Darfur in western Sudan and then flew to southern Sudan for talks with John Garang of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. Mr. Annan is calling on donors to increase aid to ensure there is enough food for the millions of people who’ve been affected by war in both regions.

Peter Smeardon is a spokesman for the UN World Food Program. From Khartoum, he spoke by cell phone to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the security situation in Darfur, where rebels and government forces have been fighting for about two years.

He says, “The security situation is not as bad as it was last year, but it is by no means good. Basically, some WFP contracted convoys and trucks are prone to being attacked by mostly bandits as they make their way into the Darfurs (North, South and West), most notably South Darfur. From time to time there is fighting and that means we can’t go into areas because they’re declared a ‘no go’ zone by the United Nations.”

The rainy season is about to begin and the WFP has prepositioned food supplies in West Darfur and hopes get as much food out to the displaced as possible before the roads turn to mud.

Over the past few days, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan visited Darfur, where many displaced told him they wanted better security. In southern Sudan, Mr. Annan warned food supplies are well below what’s needed as the rains approach. Mr. Smeardon of the WFP estimates supplies are 75 percent below what’s needed.