Over 200,000 displaced from Darfur since January: U.N.
By Nabil Selim, Sunday, March 23, 2014
KHARTOUM – A United Nations official in Sudan expressed deep concern over the continued unrest in the country's war-torn Darfur region, adding that over 200,000 have been displaced since the beginning of the year.
“Civilians are those most deeply affected by renewed hostilities in Darfur”, said Ali Al-Za’tari, the U.N.'s Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, in a statement Sunday.
“Insecurity and other impediments have prevented aid agencies from reaching many affected people in active conflict areas, but we do know that many people are suffering," he added.
Al-Za'tari went on to assert that the number of aid workers in Sudan, which used to stand at 18,000, has been reduced down to one-third by late last year, citing the "increasingly challenging and protracted nature of the crisis," which has increased the difficulty in delivering basic aids.
"More than at any point since the Darfur crisis started a decade ago, the people of Darfur need the immediate support of the humanitarian community."
Al-Za'tari further called on the all parties to the Darfur crisis to reach a peace agreement that would "allow the people of Darfur to live in peace."
Over the past weeks, the war-torn eastern region saw the fiercest wave of fighting in years between the Sudanese army and rebel groups, who have been fighting government troops in Darfur since 2003.
The most influential rebel groups refused to sign a Qatar-brokered peace deal with the government in July n2011.
The Darfur conflict prompted in 2009 an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on a number of charges including genocide committed by government forces and allied militias.
According to a 2008 U.N. report, 2.5 million people had been displaced by the conflict and nearly 300,000 killed.
The government, for its part, insists that the death toll does not exceed 10,000.
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