Sudan: UN warns Darfur remains volatile, despite relatively few incidents this week
The situation in the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur remains volatile, although there were fewer incidents than usual reported over the past week, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said today.
In its latest news update from Khartoum, the Mission said Government forces and an allied militia were reported to have burned down a North Darfur village during attacks on Friday and Saturday.
UNMIS added that there are reports of civilian casualties in the attack and there are also indications that all of the villagers’ livestock was looted.
More than 200,000 people are estimated to have been killed in Darfur since 2003 because of fighting between Government forces, allied militias and rebel groups. Another 2 million people have become internally displaced or been forced to flee into neighbouring Chad.
The Secretary-General’s Principal Deputy Special Representative for Sudan, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, held talks over the weekend in Khartoum with Salim Ahmed Salim, the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. He also met Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol to discuss cooperation between UNMIS and the Government.
The meetings follow Mr. Zerihoun’s return from Abuja, Nigeria, where the AU Peace and Security Council discussed Darfur at a summit late last week.
In a communiqué after the Abuja summit, the Peace and Security Council extended the mandate of the current AU peace mission in Darfur, known as AMIS, by six months until the end of June next year.
Participants also endorsed the conclusions reached at a meeting last month in Addis Ababa for a three-phased process of enhanced UN support to AMIS culminating in a hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping operation.
The hybrid force is expected to have about 17,000 troops and 3,000 police officers, compared to the current AMIS strength of around 7,000.