Jimmy Carter blocked from meeting Darfur tribal chief

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KEBKABIYA, Sudan, Oct 3 (Reuters) Former President Jimmy Carter had a heated exchange with Sudanese security who prevented him from visiting a Darfur tribal leader in Kebkabiya town, North Darfur today.

The exchange occurred as Carter toured Darfur with a group of elder statesmen including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Kebkabiya security chief Omar Sheikh told Carter in a raised voice he could not meet the tribal leader because it was not on his programme.

Carter angrily replied: ''I don't think you have the authority to do so. We are going to go anyway. I'll tell President (Omar Hassan al-) Bashir.'' Carter and rights campaigner Graca Machel were due to meet leaders of the displaced population today in Kebkabiya but only three came to meet them.

Carter then asked to visit a nearby school for displaced people where he could meet their leaders. Carter and the delegation walked in the hot sun to the nearby school built by displaced Sudanese for their children.

Sudanese security said for safety reasons they could not allow such a big diversion from the scheduled programme.

''I accepted their visit to the school but I can't go further than that. We cannot be that flexible,'' said a spokesman.

REUTERS SG SSC1427

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