Arson attack kills two at Darfur camp, say UN-African Union peacekeepers

25 March 2009

A group of armed men set fire to a makeshift camp in war-ravaged Darfur, killing two people and destroying hundreds of shelters, the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in the western region of Sudan (UNAMID) reported today.

A group of armed men set fire to a makeshift camp in war-ravaged Darfur, killing two people and destroying hundreds of shelters, the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in the western region of Sudan (UNAMID) reported today.

Residents from the camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) near the West Darfur state capital El Geneina told a UNAMID military and police unit that they witnessed four men, two in uniform, enter the camp, start the fire and run out soon after midnight.

Strong winds swept the blaze through the Abu Zar camp, leaving one female IDP dead at the scene and killing a 22 year-old man after he was rushed to hospital. Another three IDPs remain seriously injured and are receiving medical treatment at El Geneina hospital.

Senior UNAMID military and police officials, speaking on behalf of the Mission, expressed their deep concern to the IDPs at Abu Zar following the incident.

The hybrid peacekeeping force noted that otherwise the security situation in the rest of Darfur remained relatively calm. UNAMID has reported a rise in attacks on peacekeeping staff, carjacking, other banditry, and harassment of civilians in Darfur in recent weeks.

There has also been concern over the safety of humanitarian workers, many of whom have been ordered to leave the region following the recent indictment of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.

UNAMID troops have conducted 19 confidence-building patrols, 11 escort patrols and one night patrol covering 21 villages and IDP camps within two of Darfur’s three states, and its police force conducted 75 patrols.

An estimated 300,000 people have died and another 3 million have been displaced in Darfur, where rebels have been fighting Government forces and allied Arab militiamen, known as the Janjaweed, since 2003.

 

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