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US "deeply concerned" over Sudanese army aid prohibition

WASHINGTON, Feb 24 (KUNA) -- The United States expressed deep concern by the Sudanese army's recent decision to prohibit cross-border humanitarian assistance from Chad.
US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller, in a statement late Friday, said that there were reports of the Sudanese Armed Forces obstructing assistance from reaching communities in areas controlled by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). "We are also concerned that the RSF are looting homes, markets, and humanitarian assistance warehouses in areas under their control, and that both sides are harassing humanitarian workers and hindering delivery of lifesaving aid. We call on both the SAF and RSF to immediately allow unhindered humanitarian assistance deliveries to all parts of Sudan.
"We remind the SAF and RSF of their obligations under international humanitarian law, as well as their commitments in the Jeddah Declaration to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian deliveries to meet the needs of civilians. The United States applauds the courageous efforts of humanitarian actors, including the Emergency Response Rooms and grassroots organizations throughout Sudan responding to the needs of their most vulnerable fellow citizens at great personal cost and risk.
"In addition, the United States strongly condemns actions by the SAF and RSF, as well as some civilian officials, to constrain civic space, restrict access to internet and mobile phone networks, stoke interethnic conflict, and criminalize groups providing support for communities harmed by conflict. Hate speech, including vilification of individuals who call for stopping the fighting, has surged. We have seen the targeting of Resistance Committees, pro-peace activists, community leaders, humanitarian actors, medical personnel, journalists, and political party members. We unequivocally condemn these acts, as well as pervasive rape, torture, and other reprehensible violations against Sudanese civilians. Sudanese civilians must be free to organize themselves to establish a civilian government that truly represents the Sudanese people". (end) as.hb