UN food airdrops completed in Sudan's rebel-held Nuba mountains

Dec 4 (AFP)

A UN operation to airdrop food in rebel-held areas of the Nuba Mountains in central Sudan has been completed, a government relief official said Tuesday. Humanitarian Aid Commissioner (HAC) Sulaf Eddin Salih, quoted in a daily newspaper, said the World Food Programme (WFP) on Sunday finished dropping 2, 039 tonnes of food in areas held by the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

The operation was carried out under the terms of an agreement between the United States, the Sudanese government and the SPLA. US special envoy to Sudan John Danforth called last month for an extension of a four-week truce that went into effect on November 9 to allow the airdrops to take place.

Salih told the independent Al-Sahafi Al-Dawli daily that the government is assessing the operation, and that the issue of extending the truce would be discussed with a US delegation which is expected soon in Khartoum. He said his governmment is presently considering a UN request to drop non-food items such as medicines, blankets and other supplies to inhabitants of the same SPLA-controlled areas in the Nuba Mountains.

Salih said more than 50,000 people, mostly women, children and the elderly, have moved from SPLA-held zones to other area controlled by the government in the Nuba Mountains. They are also in need of food, medicines and shelter, said Salih, adding that his government would call for their inclusion in UN-sponsored programmes for displaced persons.