26 April 2012

Sudan: Khartoum Seizes Trucks Smuggling Food to South Sudan

Photo: Fred Noy/UN Photo
A local farmer harvests sorghum.

Khartoum — Sudanese authorities have impounded more than 60 vehicles carrying food across the borders to South Sudan, an official said on Thursday, warning that Khartoum intends to rigidly enforce a ban on smuggling to the southern neighbor.

Last week Sudan announced plans to declare a state of emergency in areas bordering South Sudan and fight food smuggling to its former southern territory that became an independent state in July last year.

The move comes amid unprecedented levels of tension between the two neighbors since South Sudan briefly occupied two weeks ago the disputed region of Heglig which supplies Khartoum with half of its daily oil output.

The Sudanese justice minister, Mohammed Boshara Dosa, visited White Nile State where he inspected more than 60 trucks impounded by local authorities as they carried food and petro items across the borders.

Dosa said that the seizure is meant to signal the fact that Khartoum considers smuggling of food to South Sudan as "a crime tantamount to supplying the enemy with arms"

Dosa further warned that law-enforcement authorities would crackdown take all necessary measures to ensure that smuggling is prevented.

He also instructed the authorities to bring those who were caught smuggling food to trial.

Sudanese first Vice-President Ali Osman Mohammad Taha asked the parliament last week to amend laws in order to allow execution of anyone found guilty of smuggling food to South Sudan.

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