Home | News    Wednesday 1 May 2013

Darfur situation “very troubling”, says top UN official

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April 29, 2013 (WASHINGTON) – The United Nations peacekeeping chief on Monday expressed alarm over the situation in Sudan’s western region of Darfur and urged the international community to press the warring parties involved to reach a political settlement.

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UNAMID airlifts wounded civilians from the El Sireaf locality to El Fasher for medical treatment, in this handout photograph taken by UNAMID on February 24, 2013

“The situation in Darfur is every troubling,” Herve Ladsous, under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations told the UN Security Council (UNSC) during his briefing on the work of the joint African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

“The people of Darfur have known conflict and suffering for too long,” he added.

He noted in his report that inter-communal clashes in the conflict-torn region in western Sudan sparked another round of deadly violence recently, with security restrictions hindering the efforts of peacekeepers.

The clashes displaced more than 200,000 people, including 24,000 to Chad – more than last year’s total.

The clashes between Sudanese army and rebels from a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) over the control of Labado and Muhajiriya in East Darfur forced thousands of civilians to flee their home, with some 33,000 people seeking refuge near UNAMID bases in both towns.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has set up a temporary office in the remote border town of Tissi and is monitoring new arrivals along a 60-kilometre stretch of the border in conjunction with Chadian authorities.

Ladsous urged the UNSC, the African Union (AU) and the wider international community to apply additional pressure on belligerent parties fighting in the region to lay down their arms and negotiate a peaceful resolution, adding that maintaining attention on the situation in Darfur amidst a series of newer crises remained another significant challenge.

The UN official said that despite “mildly encouraging” developments in the peace process, a fully inclusive political settlement was yet to be reached.

Movement restrictions and other obstructions imposed by parties to the conflict had continued to hamper UNAMID operations, Ladsous noted. Earlier this month, government security forces forcibly prevented UNAMID helicopters from departing Shangil Tobaya and Afaf Umra, respectively, after the crews refused to transport local officials not on the flight manifest. The flights eventually took off without the officials on board after several hours of negotiations.

Ladsous said better cooperation on the part of the Sudanese authorities and improvements in troop and police continent equipment levels would help enable UNAMID to operate at closer to its full potential.

The UNAMID has come under repeated criticism from rebel sections and Darfur authorities for not doing enough to protect civilians caught up in the conflict.

Conflict in Darfur has waged for 10 years, killing some 300,000 people and displacing around two million people, according to UN estimates.

(ST)

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  • 2 May 2013 14:18, by Kedo

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