Aid Agencies Halt Operations as Looting Escalates in Sudanese State

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
3 Min Read

Two aid groups stopped operations in Sudan due to looting amid tensions between RSF and the army.

The suspension of activities by both the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) and the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in El Gezira poses a significant threat to an already critical humanitarian situation, fueled by more than eight months of ongoing conflict.

The WFP disclosed that it was compelled to halt aid distributions in El Gezira state, where a warehouse with sufficient supplies to sustain 1.5 million people for a month had been subjected to looting.

MSF, in a statement posted on the social media platform X, revealed that armed assailants targeted its compound in the El Gezira state capital, Wad Madani, on December 19. The attackers looted two vehicles and other valuable items during the incident.

“Due to the security deterioration, we have suspended all medical activities in Wad Madani and evacuated our staff to safer areas of Sudan and neighboring countries,” said MSF in its statement. “We are concerned for the people in Wad Madani who have very limited access to healthcare and essential medicines.”

The RSF gained control of Wad Madani earlier this month, marking part of a broader territorial expansion in the southern and western regions of Sudan. The city had previously served as a crucial aid hub and a sanctuary for internally displaced individuals. El Gezira, being an essential agricultural region, plays a pivotal role in a country grappling with escalating hunger concerns.

The capture of Wad Madani triggered a mass exodus, with up to 300,000 people fleeing the area, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The conflict between the army and the RSF erupted in mid-April, driven by mounting tensions over the planned transition from military to civilian rule. The two forces had initially shared power following the 2019 overthrow of leader Omar al-Bashir during a popular uprising.

The impact of the conflict is palpable, with the capital witnessing heavy artillery fire as of the latest reports. Over 7 million people have been displaced from their homes, and ethnically driven violence has unfolded in the western region of Darfur. The situation remains fluid, with humanitarian concerns intensifying as aid organizations grapple with challenges on the ground.


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