WFP contract driver and assistant killed delivering food in South Sudan

Published on 10 April 2008

WFP has announced that the driver of a WFP-contracted truck and his assistant were killed in Southern Sudan, bringing to five the number of people killed in attacks on WFP humanitarian transporters in Sudan in less than three weeks.

The World Food Programme has announced that the driver of a WFP-contracted truck and his assistant were killed in Southern Sudan, bringing to five the number of people killed in attacks on WFP humanitarian transporters in Sudan in less than three weeks.

Hamid Dafaalla, 47, a father of four, was shot and killed by unknown assailants while driving his truck in Southern Sudan on Monday, 7 April. His assistant was shot dead while trying to flee. They were on a return trip after delivering humanitarian food supplies to the town of Rumbek.

"Shocked and saddened"

"We are shocked and saddened by this heartless killing," said Ebenezer Tagoe, WFP Sudan Deputy Director.

"Attacks against vehicles delivering humanitarian assistance are completely unacceptable. We have met representatives of the Government of Southern Sudan and they have promised a full investigation," he said.

The attack occurred six kilometres from Mayom town in Unity State, not far from where two WFP-contracted drivers were stabbed to death on 22 March. Another WFP-contracted driver was shot dead two days later and his assistant injured while delivering food to Nyala in South Darfur.

Jeopardy to food supply

Attacks have slowed food deliveries in Darfur, reducing food stocks at WFP warehouses. The killings in Southern Sudan jeopardise the ability of WFP to provide returnees – particularly those returning to their communities of origin in Northern Bahr el Ghazal – with food and threaten the pre-positioning of food assistance ahead of the rainy season starting in May.

"WFP-contracted trucking companies have continued to provide this vital service at great risk. The continued insecurity on the roads in areas where we operate presents not only a serious threat to the drivers, but also to vulnerable people who depend on this food for their survival," Tagoe said.

Since the start of the year there were 60 hijackings of trucks in Darfur, with 42 trucks missing and 29 drivers unaccounted for. These attacks are in addition to the recent killings in Darfur and Southern Sudan.