Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Millions of Darfuris at greater risk with aid groups' removal

The Christian Science Monitor newspaper (US)
11 March 2009

Sudan's expulsion of more than a dozen international aid groups not only puts the lives of at least 1 million displaced Darfuris at risk of starvation, it could also set off a series of regional conflicts.

The world's largest humanitarian aid effort is being cut in half overnight. With the biggest groups, such as Doctors Without Borders, Care International, and Oxfam leaving, Darfur watchers expect an exodus of hundreds of thousands of Darfuris from camps in Sudan for havens in neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic. But there's also a rising risk of more armed conflict within Sudan.

Rebel groups fighting with the Khartoum government see an opportunity to recruit more fighters from the current camps, as the hungary turn to them for food and water. And aid groups that have acted as important community bridge builders in fractious towns along the north-south Sudan divide, are leaving. Analysts say their removal threatens the four-year-old north-south peace agreement that ended Africa's longest civil war.

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