March 5, 2009 / 11:44 AM / 10 years ago

Sudan to expel three more aid agencies - aid official

KHARTOUM, March 5 (Reuters) - Sudan plans to expel three more aid agencies, bringing to 13 the number of groups ordered out since the International Criminal Court called for Sudan’s president to be arrested over war crimes, an aid official said.

"We have heard that the Sudanese government is set to expel three more foreign aid groups. It looks like the instructions are coming from the top," the official told Reuters on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

"We fear there could be more," the official added, and named one of the expelled groups as Medecins Sans Frontieres France.

The arrest warrant issued for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court on Wednesday for atrocities in Sudan’s western Darfur region is the first against a sitting head of state by the Hague-based court.

U.N. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said the expulsions would have a devastating impact on Darfuris.

They said Sudanese security had already begun taking computers and other assets from the agencies’ offices in Khartoum and Darfur.

U.N. and other agencies are running the world’s largest humanitarian operation in Darfur, a mainly desert region in western Sudan. International experts say at least 200,000 people have been killed there, while Khartoum says 10,000 have died. (Reporting by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum; writing by Cynthia Johnston; editing by Philippa Fletcher)



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