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Attacks On Nth Darfur Civilians Spark Condemnation

Attacks on North Darfur's civilians spark condemnation from Ban Ki-moon

7 May 2008 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly deplored the recent bombings of villages in North Darfur that have resulted in a number of deaths and injuries, and called on all parties to the conflict in the strife-torn Sudanese region to cease hostilities and ensure the protection of civilians.

"In particular, the bombing of a school, water installations and a market in the villages of Um Sidir, Ein Bassar and Shegeg Karo are entirely unacceptable," Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.

The joint UN-African Union (AU) Mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, has assisted in the evacuation of casualties following last week's attacks, which left three dead and at least eight injured.

The Mission said over the weekend that initial reports suggest that the area, which is controlled by the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), "has witnessed repeated aerial attacks and possible fighting between government and rebel forces."

A UNAMID fact-finding mission is currently conducting an investigation on the ground, while the peacekeeping forces continue to monitor the situation, the Mission added.

Mr. Ban also voiced concern at increasing acts of banditry "which complicate humanitarian operations and impede UNAMID's ability to carry out its mandate."

He once again called on all parties to the Darfur conflict - which have claimed more than 200,000 lives and displaced nearly 2.5 million others since 2003 - to urgently cease hostilities, ensure the protection of civilians and to work with UNAMID to promote security.

They were also urged to commit to the political process being led by the Special Envoys of the UN and AU, Jan Eliasson and Salim Ahmed Salim, to broker a peace settlement to the conflict.

ENDS

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