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Sudanese Flee, Reporting Systematic Rape Torture

Darfur: Un Says 19,000 More Sudanese Flee, Reporting Systematic Rape And Torture

Nearly 20,000 more internally displaced persons (IDPs) have flooded Sudan's Darfur region over the past week, reporting a campaign of systematic torture and rape by militia groups, which a senior United Nations official recently linked to ethnic cleansing.

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported today that 4,000 people have taken shelter at the Kalma camp in recent days, raising the camp's population to 12,000.

Truckloads of IDPs from the Dinka ethnic community are also entering Nyala itself on a daily basis, OCHA reported. In the town of Kass, 15,000 people have arrived in the last week.

New arrivals at Kalma told OCHA staff that Janjaweed militias committed "major atrocities" in the Shetaya and Kailiek areas of Darfur, killing and torturing up to 200 men and systematically raping women. IDPs fleeing Kailiek said they were forced to pay the militias simply to leave the area.

A separate group of thousands of IDPs who fled a Janjaweed attack on Abu Adjura on Sunday said the militia attacked two of their four convoys, looting the goods and then raping some of the women.

Last Friday, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said the Janjaweed and other militias allied to the Sudanese Government were conducting an ethnic cleansing campaign in Darfur.

Mr. Egeland said "a coordinated, scorched earth" plan was targeting the region's black African population, including the Fur, Zaghawas and Massalit ethnic groups.

Eight UN experts also issued a statem ent last month voicing alarm at reported atrocities by the Janjaweed and other government-allied militias against civilians in Darfur.

Today, in an address to the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Secretary-General Kofi Annan echoed mounting concerns about rights abuses in Darfur.

"Such reports leave me with a deep sense of foreboding," Mr. Annan said in an address marking the 10th anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. "Whatever terms it uses to describe the situation, the international community cannot stand idle."

Meanwhile, UN agencies are raising alarm about the outbreak of communicable diseases in Darfur areas where thousands of IDPs have hurriedly gathered.

The World Health Organization the UN Children's Fund the Sudanese Health Ministry and Save The Children (UK), a non-governmental organization (NGO), have begun a measles vaccination campaign in the provincial town of Al Fasher in Northern Darfur and in the El Meshtel camp for IDPs. Measles can kill children, while survivors of the contagious infection often suffer lifelong disabilities.

Already a measles outbreak at El Meshtel has led to one confirmed death, three suspected deaths and 10 new cases on Friday. UNICEF has airlifted extra supplies of vaccines and antibiotics there. There has also been a confirmed outbreak in Nertiti in western Darfur, where 200 children and adults have contracted the disease.

Food shortages are further exacerbating the situation. Between 60 and 100 children at Kalma camp - mostly newly arrived IDPs - are badly malnourished, WHO reported.

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