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GENEVA Jan 24 Looters in South Sudan have
stolen more than 3,700 tonnes of food, enough to feed 220,000
people for a month, the World Food Programme said on Friday.
The U.N. agency's warehouses in Malakal had been almost
emptied, spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told a U.N. briefing in
Geneva. The agency was working to recover lost stocks wherever
possible and trying to protect remaining stocks, she said.
The loss will hamper efforts to feed the 73,000 civilians
who have taken refugee in U.N. bases as well as more than
200,000 refugees who have been relying on U.N. support in Upper
Nile and Unity states since before the latest crisis began.
A total of 494,000 people have been uprooted across South
Sudan, the United Nations says.
South Sudan's government and rebels signed a ceasefire on
Thursday to end more than five weeks of violence that divided
Africa's newest nation and brought it to the brink of civil war.
"In this kind of situation it's very difficult to protect
food stocks," Byrs said, adding that she had no details on how
the looting had happened.
The ceasefire is expected to be implemented within 24 hours
of the signing, but there were doubts from diplomats that the
depth of the ethnic, political and personal grievances would be
easy to overcome.
WFP is seeking $57.8 million for emergency food aid for
South Sudan, and expects to need to ask for more in future.
WFP has reported no looting of its food stocks so far in
another African crisis, in Central African Republic.
(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Alison Williams)