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Sunday, 1 February 2009

In Darfur: US aid comes with Arabic bibles

US aid group, seen as cover to promote Christian missionary work, expelled from Darfur.

KHARTOUM - A US aid group has been expelled from Sudan's war-hit region of Darfur for having a large stock of Arabic-language bibles, the official SUNA news agency reported on Saturday.

The Texas-based "Thirst No More" humanitarian group's Internet website says its work in Darfur focuses on "bringing clean, safe, and sustainable drinking water," with no reference to Christian missionary work or distribution of bibles in Muslim Darfur.

A Sudanese official said members of the group have admitted possessing 3,400 bibles in Arabic in violation of laws and agreements governing the work of humanitarian organisations in the country.

SUNA quoted Osman Hussein Abdallah, Sudan's commissioner for humanitarian aid in North Darfur, as saying the organisation was unable to explain why it had such a large number of bibles.

The American embassy in Khartoum was unable to confirm that Thirst No More had been expelled, saying it had been unable to contact members of the group.

Dozens of international aid groups operate in Darfur, where aconflict broke out in 2003 as rebels took up arms against the government. Since then, the conflict has disintegrated into a maze of fraying rebel groups, banditry, tribal conflict and flip-flopping militias.

The United Nations has said 300,000 people have died and more than 2.2 million have been displaced. Khartoum puts the number of dead at 10,000. More

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