8 May 2006 United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today condemned “in the strongest terms” the killing of a staff member of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in a refugee camp in strife-torn Darfur after the visit of the UN’s top humanitarian official, along with other recent attacks on humanitarian organizations working in Darfur and Chad.
“While expressing his condolences to the victims and their families, the Secretary-General calls on all parties to adhere to, and abide by, the Darfur Peace Agreement of 5 May 2006, and to refrain from any further violence,” Mr. Annan’s spokesman said in a formal statement.
The death in the Kalma camp in South Darfur occurred after an attack on a staff member of a non-governmental organization (NGO) there, who was acting as a translator for UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland, prompting the immediate departure of Mr. Egeland and his entourage from the camp.
The African Union compound in the camp was then destroyed by camp residents, leaving the AMIS member dead.
“It is totally unacceptable what happened,” Mr. Egeland said as his convoy left Kalma camp. “The African Union are our friends, and we need them in this critical moment,” he stressed, adding “We need the population to support and not attack them.”
Mr. Egeland, who arrived in Sudan on Saturday, is returning to Khartoum today and will be holding meetings with the local Inter-Agency Standing Committee, which brings together UN agencies and NGOs. On the 10 May, he heads to Chad, where some 200,000 refugees from three years of violence in Darfur have sought shelter.
In Chad meanwhile, the UN country team condemned the Friday shooting of a staff member in the eastern part of the country during the 24th carjacking of UN vehicles there, calling on Chadian authorities to take measures necessary to ensure the safety of all civilians, including those of the humanitarian community.
The victim of the latest crime, a staff member of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) who was driving a clearly-marked vehicle of that agency, was shot twice at close range and critically wounded by a man in military uniform in front of the residence of international aid agency Oxfam in the town of Abéché.
“The deterioration of the security situation has begun to seriously affect humanitarian operations in eastern Chad, and has become all the more worrisome in light of the impunity with which such criminality continues to take place,” the country team said in a communiqué.
On Tuesday, Mr. Annan’s Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, will begin his first visit to the region since the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement by the Government of Sudan and the main rebel movement there, which it is hoped will end the violence there that has already killed over 180,000 people and displaced 2 million others.
At a press briefing in Khartoum Monday, Mr. Pronk hailed the agreement and called its text a fair compromise.
His three-day visit to Darfur will involve extensive discussions with top local government officials, community and tribal leaders and commanders of rebel movements on the peace deal signed in Abuja, a UN spokesman said.
Mr. Pronk will renew attempts he made during the marathon mediation efforts in Abuja to prod rebel leaders who failed to sign in the Nigerian capital city into joining the peace process.
After returning from Darfur, Mr. Pronk is expected to travel to Addis Ababa to attend a meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council next Monday that will discuss the future of AMIS following the Abuja breakthrough.