Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 11:49 UK

UN to suspend food aid in Darfur

A member of the Sudan Liberation Army
The five-year conflict in Darfur has left 300,000 people dead

The UN's World Food Programme says it will halt food aid distribution in parts of Darfur unless the security situation improves.

"It has become too dangerous for our drivers to continue doing their jobs," said WFP spokesman Rachid Jaafar.

He said that 43 drivers and 69 trucks were missing after being attacked by armed groups in the region this year.

More than two million people need food aid in Darfur after more than five years of fighting.

Over the weekend, rebels groups accused the government of launching a new offensive in North Darfur.

The UN food agency says that September is the "hunger-gap", when food gathered in the previous year runs out and this year's harvest is not yet ready.


WFP started cutting food rations in May, following a spate of attacks.

There are some 10,000 troops in Darfur under a joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission.

Mr Jaafar says they sometimes provide extra security for food aid deliveries but they do not have the capacity to protect all the convoys.

The five-year conflict in Darfur has led to the deaths of more than 300,000 people and the displacement of two million others, according to UN estimates.

The violence began in 2003 when rebel groups complaining of discrimination against black Africans began attacking government targets.

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