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Sudanese Red Cross worker killed in Darfur: ICRC

21 March 2014, 15:10

Khartum -A Sudanese worker for the International Committee of the Red Cross has been killed in Sudan's Darfur, the agency said on Friday, as violence worsens in the region.

"He was hit by a stray bullet while on his way home from work in a private car accompanied by three others," an ICRC statement said.

It identified him as warehouse storekeeper Najmaddin Salih Musa Bishara.

He was killed Thursday in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state.

"The exact circumstances remain unclear and we are in touch with the police investigating the case," Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC in Sudan, said in the statement.

Sudan suspended activities of the ICRC in Sudan from February 1, accusing it of violating guidelines for working in the war-torn country.

Although its projects were put on hold, the ICRC's roughly 700 local and foreign staff would still go to their offices while discussions took place with Sudanese authorities, an ICRC spokesman said at the time.

Darfur has become increasingly dangerous for aid workers.

UN data show that three local staff of overseas relief agencies were killed there last year.

None lost their lives in 2012.

The data show that carjackings and robberies drove a doubling of security incidents involving foreign aid groups in Darfur during 2013 compared with 2012.

Violence has continued to worsen, particularly in North Darfur since late February.

A Sudanese policeman was killed in a shootout with gangsters in El Fasher on Tuesday, state governor Osman Kbir told Sudanese television.

A day later, peacekeepers said they had received fresh reports of villages attacked and burned in two areas northwest and southwest of El Fasher.

Local sources said militia, including a unit known as the Rapid Support Forces, were suspected in the village attacks.

Kbir himself survived an ambush last Saturday during a visit to a town north of El Fasher briefly seized by rebels, a source familiar with the incident said.

In state-linked media, Kbir has denied the ambush.

Insurgents have also attacked in the state's southeast, while militia took Saraf Omra town in the west.

Figures cited Thursday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said an estimated 215 000 people have been displaced this year by inter-tribal fighting and clashes between the government and armed groups.

Most of the displacement occurred in North Darfur. Some people have, however, already been able to return home, OCHA said.

This year's displacements are on top of at least 380 000 uprooted last year, the UN says.

That has helped boost the number of Sudanese needing aid by more than 40 percent over the past year, to 6.1 million, John Ging, the UN director of humanitarian operations, said on Tuesday.

Analysts say Sudan's cash-starved government can no longer control its former Arab tribal allies, whom it armed against an 11-year-old rebellion, and violent competition for resources has intensified.

Crime has also worsened.



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