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Mission Suspends Operations In Areas Of Sth Darfur

Sudan: UN Mission Suspends Operations In Areas Of South Darfur

New York, Jun 9 2005

The United Nations mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has today declared the town of Muhujariya in South Darfur a "no go" area for UN staff following recent clashes between rebel forces and continued unrest in the area.

In an update on the situation in wider Sudan and the Darfurs, UNMIS listed a number of incidents including a reported attack and robbery on 5 June of two commercial trucks on the Tawilla – Om road in North Darfur by unknown armed men.

It further stated that on 4 June in West Darfur armed tribesmen attacked the village of Gosmino, abducted one individual and stole 43 livestock. On 31 May Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) representatives filed a complaint about an alleged attack on civilians at Fornu village in the area of Kutum by armed tribesmen.

Earlier this week mission chief Jan Pronk called for an immediate end to rebel violence in Darfur and expressed his concern that rebel factions were fighting in the war-torn region even as the African Union (AU) tried to keep upcoming peace negotiations on track.

Mr. Pronk, his Principal Deputy, Taye Zerihoun, and other senior mission officials are scheduled to attend the talks set to begin tomorrow in Abuja, Nigeria, between the Government of Sudan and Darfur's two rebel groups.

Fighting in Darfur flared in early 2003 after rebels took up arms, partly in protest over the distribution of resources. The UN says some 180,000 people have died as a result of the conflict, while another 1.8 million have been forced from their homes, including about 200,000 who fled across the border to neighbouring Chad.

ENDS

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