Humanitarian operations in Sudan may be paying the price for the war crimes warrant issued against the country’s President, Omar al-Bashir.
In his first public response to yesterday’s decision by the International Criminal Court, Bashir has announced 10 foreign aid agencies are being expelled from the war-ravaged African country. His announcement was welcomed by a large crowd of followers in Khartoum, who gave him a rousing reception in a potent gesture of support. The war crimes charges relate to killings, rape and torture in Darfur, where an estimated 200,000 people have died in a rebellion against the government. The UN and other foreign agencies are running the world’s largest humanitarian effort in Darfur. Bashir has accused some of them of breaking the law and said the government would tackle any move to undermine stability. Two Sudanese agencies accused of passing on information to the ICC have also been shut down. UN officials have been quoted as saying the expulsions would have a devastating impact on people displaced by the conflict.