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North Darfur issues curfew after attacks on UN facilities

The curfew will be in place from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. because of attacks on World Food Programme warehouses and the headquarters of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)
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The North Darfur State Security Committee, headed by the Secretary General of the local administration, Hafez Bakhit Mohamed, met on Wednesday at the government headquarters in El Fasher, the capital of the region. At the meeting, the local authorities announced the establishment of a curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m., according to the Sudanese state agency SUNA.

The decision of the Security Committee follows attacks on Tuesday on the World Food Programme warehouses, which were looted and burned, as well as the headquarters of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The head of the North Darfur Police, Abdelkarim Hamdo, said that the Security Committee "drew up a plan to ensure the security of strategic installations".

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The attackers were an unidentified armed group who looted the warehouses after clashing with Sudanese security forces, official sources said. "The citizens managed to enter the warehouses after the fighting stopped and the attackers withdrew, and looted another quantity of food," they said.

In total, the damage and looting has yet to be quantified, but is estimated at around two thousand tonnes. "We are assessing what was stolen from the hangars, which housed about 1,900 tonnes of food," a World Food Programme official told AFP news agency.

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UN Secretary-General's spokesman Stéphane Dujarric condemned the attacks on UN facilities as well as the loss of equipment and supplies. In doing so, he urged the government of Sudan to restore order and "ensure that UNAMID property and assets are used strictly for civilian use, in accordance with the Framework Agreement signed by the government".

It also urged the Sudanese authorities to provide a "secure working environment" for UN operations in the area and expressed its gratitude to the staff "who remained on the ground in these difficult circumstances".

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has similarly condemned the attacks, adding that a World Food Programme facility was also attacked on 28 December, looting almost as many tons of food intended for 730,000 vulnerable people in a month. Antonio Guterres had already condemned the "looting and violence" at the former UN logistics base in Al Fasher, which was handed over to local authorities earlier this month. In total, there have now been three successive attacks on UN facilities, including the one on 24 December on UNAMID headquarters.