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Militia Attack Civilians, Aid Workers In Darfur

Militia Attack Civilians, Aid Workers Everyday In Strife-Torn Darfur, Warns UN

New York, Nov 7 2006 6:00PM

Militia are continuing to attack civilians, burn houses and destroy crops every day in Sudan’s conflict-ridden Darfur region, while targeting non-governmental workers trying to assist an estimated 2 million people displaced by the violence, a UN spokesman warned today.

“The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) continue to receive daily reports of militia attacks on civilians, as well as attacks against humanitarian vehicles on key roads and even inside camps housing displaced persons,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New YorΎ.

Citing one report indicating that yesterday militia attacked villages southwest of El Fasher in North Darfur, he said they apparently have burnt houses, destroyed crops and taken animals. “A number of people were wounded, and an unknown number of civilians have been displaced as they were forced to flee their villages.”

Also in North Darfur on Monday, armed men attempted to hijack two vehicles belonging to a non-governmental organization (NGO) from within a displaced persons camp, Mr. Dujarric said.

In South Darfur, vehicles belonging to the African Union force (AMIS) and NGOs were forced to return to Nyala after being attacked by villagers accusing AMIS of failing to provide protection, he added.

“There are still serious concerns about further militia attacks in areas of West Darfur,” Mr. Dujarric warned, referring to the recent deadly militia violence in the Jebel Moon area that killed around 50 civilians and affected up to 7,000 others. He also said there were fears that inter-tribal conflicts in several areas could incrῥase with the end of the rainy season.

Scores of tens of thousands of people are estimated to have died in Darfur as a result of the conflict between Government forces, allied militias and rebels seeking greater autonomy, and more than 2 million others have been displaced.

However the Government has rejected the expansion of UNMIS to the troubled region and at present the UN assists an African Union mission (AMIS) there. Mr. Dujarric said that material support to AMIS has been identified and will be made available immediately after the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union and the Government of Sudan.

As part of the immediate UN support package to AMIS, nine military officers and nine police advisers were deployed to El Fasher and Nyala in mid-October, Mr. Dujarric said, adding that eight military officers and nine police advisers are in Khartoum, ready for deployment, and 13 additional police officers have been recruited and will deploy soon.

The UN has also agreed to provide eight fly-away kits, 36 Global Positioning Systems, 36 armed personnel carriers and public information services equipment, as well as pharmaceuticals.

UNMIS has also acquired land and has started to move equipment to El Fasher, while the mission has confirmed that close to 200 night vision goggles had arrived in Khartoum, he said.

ends

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