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Envoy For Sudan Condemns Brutal Aid Worker Murders

UN ENVOY FOR SUDAN CONDEMNS 'BRUTAL' MURDER OF HUMANITARIAN WORKERS IN DARFUR

New York, Dec 13 2004 3:00PM

The top United Nations envoy for Sudan today condemned ''in the strongest terms'' the ''brutal'' murder of two workers of an international humanitarian organization in the strife-torn western Darfur region, and called on all the Government, rebels and militia to respect the principles of international humanitarian law.

"The fact that the workers themselves seem to have become the target of fighting poses severe difficulties for humanitarian access, with grave consequences for assistance in the future," said Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk.

The two national workers for Save the Children (UK) were killed when a convoy of clearly marked humanitarian vehicles came under attack in an area where the organization operates a feeding centre and medical clinics. "Humanitarian workers are fully neutral and have come to assist victims of violence in Darfur," he said.

The UN has called Darfur, where some 1.7 million people have been displaced and Janjaweed militias stand accused of killing and raping thousands of villagers after rebels took up arms last year to demand a greater share of economic resources, the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Mr. Pronk reminded the Sudanese Government of is responsibility to protect humanitarian workers in its territory.

Mr. Pronk's deputy, Manuel Aranda da Silva, is in El Geneina in West Darfur on a two-day visit to discuss protection issues with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), among other bodies.

The African Union (AU), which is operating a monitoring mission in Darfur, said it would bring any serious violations to the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, AU-sponsored talks that were due to resume on Saturday in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, in a bid to end the 22-month conflict between the Government and the rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), have yet to get underway since key SLA figures have yet to arrive, the UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) reported.

2004-12-13 00:00:00.000

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

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