BALTIMORE -- Catholic Relief Services announced that it will be forced to close its food program in the Sudanese state of Western Darfur at the end of March.
A statement from CRS headquarters in Baltimore did not list a reason for the program's closure, and a CRS spokeswoman in Baltimore said March 28 the agency would not comment further.
However, the previous day, Sara Fajardo, CRS spokeswoman in Africa, told Agence France-Presse that the Sudanese government had asked CRS to leave because it said it could not guarantee staffers' security. CRS remained in Darfur in 2009 when the government expelled 13 other aid agencies.
"One of their (government's) claims was that we were distributing Bibles. This is completely wrong. It is against all our operating principles," Fajardo said. "We are a humanitarian organization whose work is based on need and not creed. The majority of our staff in Darfur are Muslim."