Sudan suspends Catholic aid group's work in Darfur

Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:03pm GMT

* Aid agency accused of distributing Bibles

* Latest in series of curbs on humanitarian operations

KHARTOUM, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Sudan has suspended the work of the humanitarian agency Catholic Relief Services in West Darfur state, accusing it of distributing Bibles, a local aid official said on Saturday.

It was the latest in a series of restrictions on foreign humanitarian agencies in Darfur, where eight years of conflict have led to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. The United Nations estimates 300,000 people have been killed since the conflict began.

"The work of CRS has been suspended in West Darfur after there was an accusation that they had been distributing Bibles," Mohamed Awad, head of the government's Humanitarian Aid Commission in the state, told Reuters by telephone.

Darfur is almost entirely Muslim. Awad said Bibles had been found in refugee camps and schools and the governor had ordered an investigation which showed they had been handed out by CRS.

He said a final decision had yet to be made on CRS operations in the state.

CRS, whose programmes include education, and water and sanitation, declined to comment but said its operations were continuing in Khartoum and south Sudan.   Continued...

Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.