US sends huge food aid shipment to Sudan for conflict areas

Port Sudan (Sudan) (AFP) - Nearly 50,000 tonnes of US food aid bound for areas of Sudan affected by conflict arrived in the country on Tuesday, the UN World Food Programme said.

"The US vessel Liberty Grace docked in Port Sudan carrying 47,500 tonnes of sorghum, a household food staple in Sudan," the WFP said in a statement.

The aid from the United States Agency for International Development would help "conflict-affected communities and other food insecure and vulnerable groups," the WFP said.

The huge tanker was moored in Port Sudan on the country's Red Sea coast on Tuesday as dozens of dockworkers unloaded sacks of the grain onto trucks.

Washington's charge d'affaires in Khartoum, Jerry Lanier, visited with a delegation from his embassy to see the shipment's arrival.

From Port Sudan, the WFP will distribute the sorghum around the country, particularly to the western region of Darfur.

President Omar al-Bashir has been battling insurgents in the western region of Darfur since 2003, as well as in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states since 2011.

Ethnic insurgents in Darfur launched an uprising against Bashir's Arab-dominated government in 2003, complaining their region was being economically and politically marginalised.

The conflict has killed 300,000 people and forced more than 2.5 million from their homes, according to the UN.

Some 4.4 million people across Darfur's five states require varying degrees of food assistance, the UN says.

Deadly tribal clashes, disputes over land and resources and rising criminality in parts of Darfur has further complicated the conflict.

Bashir, who was reelected in April and will be inaugurated next week, is wanted by the International Criminal Court over war crimes charges in Darfur.