Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Sudan/Darfur: "Arab" aid worker gets lynched, causes uproar

From today's Independent ...
The savage lynching of an aid worker in a refugee camp has become a political football in Darfur's ethnic conflict that now threatens some of the humanitarian operations.

Medibor Ahmed Mohammed, an Arab employed by the charity Care, was mutilated and murdered at Kalma camp by a mob of Africans who accused him of belonging to the Janjaweed militias, which have been killing and terrorising African civilians.

The Sudanese authorities have told Care to suspend operations temporarily, several of the organisation's employees have been arrested and others have been threatened with death.

Mr Mohammed's family told The Independent that they want compensation from Care. They, and fellow Arab refugees at Mussei camp, blame the agency for taking Arabs to a hostile African camp. But one of his brothers, Hamid Mahmood, said: "Our problem is with Care, and that can be settled. We have nothing against the other international charities; we all feel they should be allowed to continue with their work.''

Senior government figures have flown from Khartoum to "investigate" the murder and it has had widespread coverage in the Sudanese media, with comments about the irresponsibility of international organisations. Privately, the agencies say this is an attempt by the government to intimidate them and try to gain greater control over the distribution of aid. (source)