KHARTOUM, Sudan, March 5 (UPI) -- 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, 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.
Several agencies said Thursday that they have appealed the order. Penny Lawrence of Oxfam told Voice of America the group has temporarily moved staffers out of Sudan while they try to get the expulsion order reversed.
"Some of our assets have already been confiscated and we have temporarily, we have to sort of suspend what we are doing in Sudan," she said. "The program actually reaches about 600,000 people and it can, some elements of it can continue for a few weeks because we have trained up volunteers and local communities who can continue to distribute water and so on but after a few weeks, I am afraid it will have to close."