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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan criticizes aid agencies over Darfur aid money

KHARTOUM, March 20 (AFP) — Sudan has accused humanitarian agencies operating in the war-torn region of Darfur of using only a fraction of funds from donors on the crisis and retaining much of it for their own activities, the independent al-Sahafa daily reported Sunday.

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A displaced Sudanese woman carries her baby on her back and a box of aid provided by the Saudi Relief Agency Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004, in el-Sereif refugee camp, on the outskirts of Nyala town in Sudan’s western Darfur region. (AP).

The paper quoted the governor of South Darfur state, Al-Hajj Atta al-Mannan, as saying that just over 10 percent of the total amount of financial assistance donated for the crisis in Darfur had reached the needy.

He claimed that the majority of the money was used to fund activities not related directly to the plight of the people of Darfur.

“The share of the people of Darfur from this fund was only 12 percent while the remainder was spent on administrative operations and workers of the international organisations in Darfur,” Mannan charged.

The charges are the latest by Khartoum against international humanitarian organisations in the Darfur region, where the United Nations says some 180,000 people have died in the past 18 months, mainly from disease and malnutrition.

Earlier this year, Sudanese authorities arrested five aid officials employed by the Kirkens Noedhjelp (Norwegian Church Aid) humanitarian organization and accused them of filming a documentary inside rebel camps to back up allegations of genocide and rape in the west Sudanese province.

In October, Sudanese President Omar el-Beshir launched an attack on aid agencies in the region, calling them enemies.

“Organizations operating in Darfur are the real enemies,” the president was quoted as saying.

And earlier in May, Sudanese Interior Minister Abdul Rahim Hussein accused a number of aid organizations of supporting ethnic minority rebels in the region.

He claimed that they “used humanitarian operations as a cover for carrying out a hidden agenda and proved to have supported the rebellion in the past period.”

Beshir and other officials in Khartoum have repeatedly accused international humanitarian organizations of proselytising in Sudan and charged that the West was fueling the conflict in a bid to plunder the country’s resources.

An estimated 9,000 aid workers operate in Darfur, which has been torn by civil war and one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world for the past two years.

The UN fed a record 1.6 million people in the region in February in spite of increased attacks, according to the World Food Programme.