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Darfur: UN Humanitarian Snapshot Shows Insecurity

Sudan: UN Humanitarian Snapshot Shows Insecurity Still Plagues Darfur

New York, Oct 12 2006 6:00PM

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region enjoyed greater access to aid workers during September but the number of attacks and security incidents there also jumped in the same month, according to the latest snapshot by the United Nations’ humanitarian arm.

Sudan Humanitarian Overview, released today by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reported an increase in attacks on aid workers’ vehicles, from hijackings and ambushes to acts of looting.

“The atmosphere of fear and insecurity” inside IDP camps is also deepening, the overview said, with armed men at many sites – especially in the evenings when there is no international presence – and several assaults reported.

As many as 2 million people are displaced within Darfur, a remote and impoverished region in western Sudan that has been beset by brutal fighting between Government forces, allied Janjaweed militias and rebel groups since 2003. An estimated 200,000 others have been killed during that period.

Today’s report highlighted the problems caused by the fragmentation of the region’s rebel forces since May, when only some groups and factions signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). Fighting has intensified since that agreement was struck.

“Humanitarian access has become a daily challenge for aid workers as territory is changing hands frequently. Risk of being caught in the crossfire of ongoing aerial bombings has forced some humanitarian organizations to suspend all activities near frontlines,” the report stated.

Aid workers’ access to IDPs improved in September, the overview noted, only because the situation in July and August had been considered the worst in two years.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has received reports that armed men shot at two cars belonging to a non-governmental organization (NGO) in the South Darfur town of Goussa Shark yesterday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

Mr. Dujarric said the Mission has also received reports of sporadic shooting between soldiers in the North Darfur state capital of El Fasher.

ENDS

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