KHARTOUM, Sudan - The Sudanese government ordered several aid agencies to leave the country after an arrest warrant was issued for the country's president, a U.N. official said.
U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said Sudan told up to 10 humanitarian groups to leave the country's Darfur region or cut back on services provided, as well as seized their assets, CNN reported Thursday. The groups include Oxfam, Solidarities, Mercy Corps and Doctors Without Borders.
The action came after the International Criminal Court in The Hague (OTCBB:HGUE), Netherlands, issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity, accusing him of orchestrating a brutal campaign that left more than 300,000 civilians dead and drove more than 2.7 million people from their homes during a five-year period.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is "concerned" about the reported expulsions, a spokeswoman said.
"He notes that this represents a serious setback to lifesaving operations in Darfur, and urges the government of Sudan to act urgently to restore these (non-government organizations) to their full operational status," U.N. spokeswoman Michelle Montas said.
Sudanese officials have insisted on accompanying some NGO employees into their offices, taking lists of assets and staff, she said.
Montas said the affected agencies are "the main providers of life-saving humanitarian services, such as water, food, health and sanitation."
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