NAIROBI, Kenya — At least 16 Western relief agencies have received letters from the Sudanese government telling them to cease operations and get out of Sudan within two weeks, according to relief officials in Nairobi.
Jacob Akol, spokesman in Nairobi for World Vision International, said Tuesday that his agency was one of those ordered out. He also said Sudan had ordered out the Assn. of Christian Relief Organizations Serving Sudan, a Nairobi-based organization of American relief agencies.
Akol said that World Vision, based in Monrovia, Calif., is appealing the order.
"We have been asked to leave, but by exactly who in the government and why is what we are trying to find out," he said.
Akol said a World Vision representative has flown from Nairobi to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, to try to sort out the problem.
He said World Vision has three Americans and several Sudanese working on a small food relief project in the southwestern town of Wau.
Representatives of other relief sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that at least a dozen other relief agencies had been asked to leave, all of them American or European. All the agencies received letters last week ordering their expulsion.
An official at the Sudanese Embassy in Nairobi said that 16 organizations have been asked to leave Sudan, but he would not elaborate or identify the groups. He spoke on condition of anonymity.
Sudan's attorney general, Abdel Mahmoud Haj Saleh, announced in July that the government would close more than 20 foreign relief organizations. He charged the agencies with cooperating with the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army.
The Sudanese People's Liberation Army is a mainly African, Christian rebel movement. It has been fighting the Arab, Muslim-dominated central government since 1983. The rebels began their fight demanding social, economic and administrative reforms but now say their aim is to overthrow the government.
The rebels control much of southern Sudan.