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Annan Calls for High-Level Meeting on Darfur

Sudan: Annan Calls for High-Level Meeting on Darfur as Militia Attacks Kill Some 40 People

The security situation continues to be volatile in all of Darfur’s three states, with a number of reported deadly militia attacks on civilians, violent acts of banditry and clashes between Government and rebel forces in the past few days, UNMIS has reported.

In North Darfur on Friday, UNMIS said Arab militias attacked three villages, killing six civilians including four children, while in West Darfur, 300 armed militiamen backed by 18 military vehicles attacked camps for the internally displaced in the village of Sirba, killing 31 people and injuring 18 others, including women and children.

The Mission also said the attackers burned down almost 100 houses and, following this incident, 10 international non-governmental organization (NGO) staff members were relocated to El Geneina.

In a related development, Mr. Annan’s latest report to the Security Council on Darfur, covering the month of September, deplores the increasing violence and repeats calls on all sides to negotiate, adding that UN efforts to strengthen the African Union force on the ground will not solve the underlying problem.

“Even as efforts to strengthen AMIS continue, it is important to reiterate that a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the crisis will come only through a broadbased political settlement, which will require the complete commitment of the Government and the rebel movements.”

“This settlement will be achievable only if discussion and dialogue replace the bombings, attacks and counter-attacks of the last two months… The suffering of the Darfurian population has lasted far too long.”

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 Darfur and at present the UN assists AMIS.

Mr. Dujarric said today that the UN was continuing to strengthen the African Union mission with a $21 million package that has the support of the African Union and the Sudanese Government.


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