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Rebels Attack Humanitarian Aid In Western Sudan

Rebels Attack Vehicles Carrying Humanitarian Aid In Western Sudan, UN Mission Says

New York, Sep 6 2005 4:00PM

The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) today reported continuing accounts of fighting between rebel militia and the nomadic Janjaweed militia, looting of humanitarian assistance and attacks on villages in the Darfur regions of western Sudan.

The combat between the Janjaweed and the Sudanese Liberation Army has been taking place in the Jabal Moon hills in North Darfur, it said, but the situation in West Darfur is most troubling, following two attacks last week Thursday on humanitarian convoys sent in by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The first attack was on an NGO convoy of seven vehicles, with 21 staff members, travelling to Geneina by way of Masteri, it said. “The bandits took cash, cameras and other personal belongings and ripped out all VHF communication equipment. The bandits then beat the staff members with sticks and rifles while they were lying on the ground,” UNMIS said.

Seventeen persons suffered such injuries as blunt trauma, head injuries needing stitches and back injuries, it said. Troops from the African Union’s (AU) peacekeeping mission, AMIS, have started intensive patrolling in the general area of the ambush.

On the same day an NGO convoy of three vehicles, with drivers only, was attacked by nine masked, armed men on the road from Mornei to Geneina. The attackers stole the drivers’ personal belongings and a VHF radio, but the drivers reached Geneina safely later that afternoon, UNMIS said.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commission for Refugees’ (UNHCR) work with internally displaced people (IDPs) in Darfur and with Darfur refugees in neighbouring Chad was getting a boost from a new DVD, "Voices for Darfur,” released by EMI in the United Kingdom and scheduled to appear in stores in Europe, Australia, the United States and Japan in the coming weeks.

It features artists who took part in the 8 December concert in London to raise both funds and awareness, including Sade, Yusuf Islam, Chrissie Hynde, Mick Hucknall, Nicole Russo of the Brand New Heavies, Moloko singer Roisin Murphy, Ruthie Henshall, Sir Willard White and UNHCR's longest-serving Goodwill Ambassador, American opera and jazz singer Barbara Hendricks, UNHCR said.

The two-and-a-half-year conflict has displaced close to 2 million people within Darfur and driven more than 200,000 into Chad, where UNHCR maintains 12 refugee camps.

ENDS

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