African Union-UN mission protects civilians displaced by latest Darfur attacks

A boy in Kutum, North Darfur, Sudan. The town is patrolled by the South African contingent of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Credit : UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran

24 March 2014 – The African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s Darfur region is providing protection to thousands of people who sought refuge at its bases in Korma and Khor Abeche following violent attacks by armed assailants in the past several days.

On Saturday, about 300 heavily armed men attacked a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Khor Abeche, South Darfur, setting fire to dozens of shelters and stealing livestock belonging to the residents.

The UN-AU mission (UNAMID) said in a news release that as a result of the incident, at least 2,000 IDPs sought refuge at its base in Khor Abeche. One IDP was reportedly killed.

UNAMID is providing protection, shelter and water to the IDPs and is working with the humanitarian community in the provincial capital, Nyala, on the provision of emergency support.

Also on Saturday, hundreds of families approached UNAMID’s base in Korma in North Darfur and advised that Kobe town (approximately 21 kilometres north of the base) and neighbouring villages had been attacked by armed men on Friday. One fatality was reported, along with the looting of property and burning of houses.

UNAMID has deployed additional peacekeepers to enhance the protection of the estimated 1,000 displaced persons gathered at the Korma base. It is working closely with humanitarian partners to provide the necessary emergency assistance to those in need.

“UNAMID’s leadership calls on all armed elements in Darfur to refrain from using violence against innocent civilians, resolve their grievances peacefully and ensure that the mission and humanitarian actors have the necessary full and unimpeded access for the protection of civilians,” the mission stated.

Earlier this month, both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced deep concern about the recent escalation of violence in Darfur and its impact on civilians in the region, and urged an immediate halt to hostilities.

UN officials have repeatedly called on all sides to join negotiations aimed at achieving a permanent ceasefire and comprehensive peace for the people of the strife-torn region, which has witnessed fighting since 2003 between rebel groups and Government forces and their allies, militiamen known as the Janjaweed.


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