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Sudan orders Red Cross to suspend operations

By Yousuf Basil and Ben Brumfield, CNN
February 2, 2014 -- Updated 0700 GMT (1500 HKT)
The Red Cross has been ordered to halt its operations in Sudan.
The Red Cross has been ordered to halt its operations in Sudan.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Red Cross was active in the restive Darfur region
  • The government says the suspension is for technical reasons
  • In the past, Khartoum has expelled aid agencies from the region
  • Rebels in Darfur and forces loyal to the government have a history of tension

(CNN) -- Sudanese authorities ordered the Red Cross to halt its activities in the nation starting Saturday, citing technical reasons, the aid agency said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it has worked in Sudan for 36 years.

"We help people affected by the conflict in Darfur, provide seed, tools, food and water, and re-establish contact between people separated by the fighting," it says on its website. "The ICRC also promotes international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians affected by the conflict."

The government in Khartoum has in the past expelled aid agencies working in the Darfur region, where rebel groups and forces loyal to President Omar al-Bashir have fought.

In April, a splinter group from the largest rebel group in Darfur signed a peace agreement with Khartoum.

Sudan has seen raucous protests in recent months, some met with violent force by government security forces.

Read: Fast facts on Sudan.

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