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Casualties in bombing raid on village in Sudan

Dozens of casualties in bombing raid on village in Sudan's Darfur region reported to UN

About 100 people were killed or injured when Sudanese Government airplanes bombed a village in the northern section of the country's war-scarred Darfur region, according to reports received by United Nations officials there.

This latest attack comes as the UN's most senior humanitarian official warned the Security Council today that Darfur's perilous security conditions are hampering UN aid agencies' efforts to feed and assist many of the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

UN officials in Sudan said African Union (AU) reports indicated that the Sudanese air force has bombed the village of Rahad Kabolong in North Darfur state, with unconfirmed reports giving a casualty count of about 100. UN humanitarian agencies have declared the location around Rahad Kabolong to be a "no-go" area for their staff until further notice, and the AU is investigating the bombing raid.

The area north of the town of Sirba in West Darfur state has also remained off-limits to UN staff since late last week because of violent clashes there.

Across the region, UN human rights monitors are also expressing concerns about the treatment of victims of human rights abuses. Despite representations from World Health Organization (WHO) officials, the victims are still being forced to pay fees to receive hospital treatment in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state.

Meanwhile, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland outlined the impact of the continuing violence and insecurity during a wide-ranging briefing to the Council today on the humanitarian situation in Africa.

Mr. Egeland said the World Food Programme (WFP) reached 1.5 million people in Darfur in December – "a significant achievement, but still 500,000 less than the target." So far this month the agency has reached about 900,000 IDPs, only half of its goal for January.

He said IDPs continue to arrive in temporary camps every week – or in some cases are having to flee those camps and seek shelter elsewhere – because of fresh attacks on towns, villages and camps. The situation is considered worst, he added, in South Darfur and West Darfur states.

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