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Sudan Tribune

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UN envoy to visit southern Sudan, Nigeria

Mar 28, 2006 (NAIROBI) — A senior United Nations envoy to Sudan is set to visit southern Sudan after separate attacks earlier this month on United Nations offices in the region, the UN announced on Tuesday.

Jan_Pronk_Paris.jpgThe UN said in its news release that Special Representative JanPronk will also visit Abuja, the capital of Nigeria this weekend to meet the Sudanese parties involved in the peace talks over three-year conflict in the western Sudan region of Darfur.

“Pronk will visit on March 30-31 to meet various officials, including those from the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), and he will also go to Yei, the site of a deadly attack on a UN refugee agency compound, and to Yambio, where two Bangladeshi peacekeepers were wounded on March 19 when 100 armed men attacked their base,” it said.

A local guard was killed and a staff member and another local guard seriously wounded when two gunmen attacked UNHCR’s compound in Yei mid this month, forcing the suspension of the planned repatriation of some of the hundreds of thousands of Sudanese who had fled the bloody civil war.

UNHCR set up a presence in Yei in 2004 to prepare for the return of southern Sudanese refugees from the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda tothe West Equatorial region.

A planned repatriation movement from the DRC to the Yei region due to start this week has been suspended while UNHCR reviews the situation.

There are 350,000 refugees from southern Sudan in neighboring countries and some 4 million people displaced within Sudan.

After visiting southern Sudan, Pronk will then travel to Abuja in Nigeria on April 1-2, to meet the parties involved in the peacetalks on Darfur, the UN news reported.

Last week, Pronk told the UN Security Council that killings, rapes and other abuse of human rights in Darfur continued to threaten the peace in Sudan as a whole, and he called for a swift peace agreement and a peacekeeping force large enough to cover theregion and deter any attack.

Sudanese officials have expressed optimism about striking a peace deal with rebels in Nigeria within weeks to end the three-year conflict in Darfur.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Lam Akol said the peace talks underwayin Abuja between rebels from Sudan’s western Darfur region and the Sudanese government, may result in a peace deal by the end of April.

The war in Darfur broke out in February 2003, when some groups launched a rebellion against Khartoum and were put down by the Sudanese government.


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