Food, water reach war-displaced in Sudan's Darfur

Food, water and medical aid has reached thousands of people displaced by fighting in southern Darfur in Sudan, peacekeepers said on Wednesday, after the UN chief expressed concern over restrictions on access.

Almost 80 tonnes of "critical humanitarian aid" will assist needy civilians in Labado and Muhagiriya, said the African Union-UN peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) which delivered the supplies from United Nations agencies.

"The first phase of the operation, conducted on April 23, consisted primarily of delivering food rations, bottled water and medical supplies," UNAMID said, adding that a second phase is planned.

An estimated 20,000 displaced people have gathered around UNAMID bases in Labado and Muhagiriya since rebels seized control of the area on April 6 and UNAMID reported "possible" air strikes.

The Sudanese army said it liberated the area on April 17 but two days later a peacekeeper died in an attack on UNAMID's base near Muhagiriya.

Sudan's foreign ministry said the attack had "no link" with government troops.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he was appalled by the incident, and also expressed deep concern about restrictions imposed by Khartoum that blocked delivery of aid.

Authorities said the area was not safe for humanitarian groups.