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Aid truck hijacked in North Darfur

March 12 - 2016 KABKABIYA
Unamid troops from Ethiopia escort WFP trucks from El Fasher to Shangil Tobaya (Albert González Farran/Unamid)
Unamid troops from Ethiopia escort WFP trucks from El Fasher to Shangil Tobaya (Albert González Farran/Unamid)

Armed robbers hijacked a truck belonging to the Darfur Regional Authority that carried relief items between Kutum and Kabkabiya in North Darfur last week. The convoy was escorted by a UN-AU peacekeeping force.

A similar incident on the same road resulted in the death of a soldier of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid) on Wednesday.

The owner of the vehicle, Idris Ishag Khamis, told Radio Dabanga on Friday that a group of gunmen attacked the convoy, including trucks belonging to the World Food Programme (WFP) and commercial trucks, in the area of Gadar on 2 March. The convoy was on its way to the newly displaced people from Jebel Marra who are sheltering at the Unamid team site in Sortony.

Khamis' truck carried blankets and tents, among others. The attackers seized his vehicle and demanded a payment of SDG150,000 ($24,670). They released the driver, El Tayeb Abdelkarim Abdallah, and the two assistant drivers Abakar Hamid  and Sharafuldin Abdallah Ishag, but still demanded the payment for the release of the vehicle. 

Unamid confirmed the incident on Saturday. Ashraf Eisa, spokesman for the mission, told Radio Dabanga today that eight armed men stopped a vehicle of the Darfur Regional Authority 51 kilometres from the team site in Kabkabiya, and diverted it to an unknown destination.

“The incident was only reported by another DRA driver to the convoy commander after travelling 5 kilometers from the scene of the incident,” Eisa said. “Efforts by the patrol team to recover the vehicle were unsuccessful. The Government of Sudan police has been informed.”

He said that the convoy comprised of six Sudanese government vehicles, nine Unamid ration trucks and 15 WFP trucks.

In Sortony, there are still significant gaps in terms of access to safe water and sanitation, the UN's office coordinating humanitarian affairs (OCHA) reported last week. No new arrivals were reported in Sortony over the last two weeks. The total number of people who have fled the fighting between government and rebel forces in Jebel Marra has reached 98,013 in North Darfur as of 6 March, according to humanitarian organisations.

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