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UN 'routine visit' to Sudan's war-torn Darfur

UN envoy to make 'routine visit' to Sudan's war-torn Darfur region

The top United Nations envoy for Sudan will begin "a routine working visit" tomorrow to the western Darfur region, where renewed fighting last week uprooted nearly 8,000 people.

Following his two-day visit, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Jan Pronk will go to the Nigerian capital of Abuja for Saturday's summit meeting of the African Union (AU), where the Darfur issue is high on the agenda.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and at least 1.85 million people forced from their homes in Darfur since rebels took up arms against the Sudanese Government in early 2003 in protest partly at the distribution of economic resources.

In the latest fighting in South Darfur, the UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) said, the village of Hamada was nearly totally destroyed and that 105 civilians may have been killed, with the majority of the victims women and children. A number of relief agencies, both UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are assisting the survivors.

Agencies are continuing to prepare for the relocation of the displaced from over-crowded camps in Nyala and the Kalma camp.

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