Vehicles of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitaries await before leaving following a rally for supporters of Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) in the village of Abraq, June 22, 2019. (File: AFP)

RSF accused of blocking aid convoys in North Darfur

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry has accused the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of obstructing several UNICEF trucks carrying humanitarian aid en route to El Fasher.

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry on Friday accused the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of obstructing several United Nations Children’s Fund trucks carrying humanitarian aid en route to El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur State.

In a statement obtained by Radio Tamazuj, the ministry said that the RSF intercepted the trucks that were sent to address the food and health crisis in displacement camps, with a specific focus on combating malnutrition among the children.

The RSF, the minister said, deployed forces near the town of Mellit to block humanitarian convoys along the Al-Dabba-Mellit-El Fasher route.

For its part, The RSF said that the Sudanese army and allied armed forces were trying to misuse humanitarian aid for the transportation of weapons.

“We have reservations about bringing aid into Darfur through the Al-Dabba city in northern Sudan,” Imran Abdullah, an advisor to the RSF leader, said in a statement.

“The SAF and the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by the governor of Darfur Region … sought to smuggle weapons through this route,” he added.

While the SAF and the RSF were trading accusations over obstruction of humanitarian aid, the conflict-displaced families in the Darfur region are facing the risk of famine.

The army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) began battling each other in mid-April last year as tensions over plans for a new political transition.

The conflict has driven nearly 8.5 million people from their homes, creating the world’s biggest displacement crisis, pushed parts of the 49-million population close to famine, and triggered waves of ethnically driven killings and sexual violence in the western region of Darfur.

About 13,900 people have been killed since the fighting broke out, according to data recorded by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.