Monday, February 14, 2011

Medecins du Monde kicked out of Darfur

More trouble seems to be brewing in Darfur. The Sudanese government has kicked out an aid group saying they were spying for the rebels. Whenever we come across a story like this, that is usually the excuse given by the ruling government. More that likely the expulsion is so no one can see what they are doing.

Sudan did kick out 13 different aid groups in 2009. The target of the expulsion this time was Medecins du Monde. The French charity had their offices raided by the Sudanese military and staff members were arrested. Most of those arrested have since be released.

From Reuters AlertNet, writer Andrew Heavens describes the ousting.

Sudan, highly suspicious of foreign intervention, has had a tense relationship with the aid groups that poured in to help hundreds of thousands of people displaced by Darfur's eight-year conflict between government troops and rebels.

Workers from four humanitarian organisations, who asked not to be named, told Reuters there had been a recent increase travel restrictions and worsening security conditions.

Medecins du Monde's Paris-based general director Pierre Salignon said he had not received any official notice of an expulsion. "We are a purely humanitarian organisation, trying to reach people in a very difficult situation," he told Reuters.

Medecins du Monde was one of the last aid groups working in the central Jabel Marra region, a rebel stronghold and the scene of recent clashes. Other aid groups say the government has barred access to large parts of the area for a year.

U.N. sources said security officials arrested more than 12 Sudanese people working for the group on Thursday, later releasing all but two. Two foreign workers flew from Nyala to Khartoum over the weekend, they said.

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