UN food agency suspends activities in remote area of W. Equatoria

The World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended

its activities in some parts of Western Equatoria

State following attacks by the notorious

Ugandan rebel Lord Resistance Army (LRA).

Earlier this week the WFP reported that

the Ugandan rebels attacked Ezo district,

in the remote Western Equatoria state

near Sudan's border with the Democratic

Republic of the Congo (DRC),

and killed two people and

injured three others,

on August 12. The LRA also abducted

10 girls from a local church, and they

pillaged and torched homes, stealing food.

In a press briefing held on Sunday

in Khartoum, Mr. Kenro Oshidari,

WFP Representative in Sudan told

reporters that following LRA rebels on

their teams in Ezo, the UN food

assistance body evacuated its workers

and suspended their humanitarian

activities there as result of

the increasing violence there.

"On 13 August, as a result of the intensifying

LRA attacks, the UN was forced to suspend

all humanitarian activities in the area,

and 29 humanitarian workers, including

seven UNHCR staff, were

evacuated by helicopter,"

the UNHCR announced from

Geneva on August 21.

The recent LRA attacks have triggered

widespread panic and fear in the area

bordering the DRC and the Central

African Republic (CAR), he said.

Most of those on the run have already

been uprooted by earlier LRA incursions.

Mr. Oshidari reaffirmed that the WFP

would resume its humanitarian assistance

in Ezo area as soon as

the security situation is improved.

Increasing tribal violence, poor rainfall

and high food prices were identified

as the 'key shocks' behind

the worsening food security

situation in southern Sudan.

The WFP plans to increase by 25 percent

its food assistance distributed

to Southern Sudan this year, to

a total of 118,000 metric tons,

because the number of people facing

severe food shortages

had now risen to 1.3 million.

He also pointed out that southern Sudan

needs some 22,000 metric tons

to cover food gap till the end of October.

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             J-L K.
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