JUNE 29, 2010: Thousands Displaced By Darfur Clashes

 Thousands Displaced By Darfur Clashes
 
SOURCE : IRIN
 
Ongoing clashes between various armed groups in western Sudan have intensified since May, displacing 725 households from Jebel Mara to Hassa Hissa camp in Zalingei, West Darfur, aid workers said.

An inter-agency verification exercise, conducted on 27 June, followed an appeal by the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to the parties in the conflict to cease hostilities. On 24 June, UNAMID reported casualties in clashes between the Rizeigat and Misseriya communities in Bugulay and Tereij villages, 28km southeast of Zalingei.

"The steady deterioration of security conditions, particularly in the past two months, is not only affecting the population but directly targets the humanitarian community," the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Georg Charpentier, said. "Repeated kidnappings of humanitarian staff and the killing of peacekeepers, as well as vehicle hijackings and banditry, seriously impede the overall humanitarian access."

Recently, three UN peacekeepers died in an attack in Darfur. Two German nationals from Technisches Hilfswerk, a German relief organization, were also kidnapped on 22 June in Nyala, South Darfur. The incident happened 37 days after a staff member for Samaritan Purse was kidnapped in the same state, where fighting between Sudanese government forces and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) continues.

The Darfur conflict escalated in 2003 when local groups took up arms, accusing the government of neglecting the region. In response, the government is believed to have armed Arab Janjawid militias - a claim the government denies. The militias are accused of attacking, raping and pillaging Darfur's indigenous communities. Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges relating to the situation in Darfur.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

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