Darfur: UN-African Union official meets with displaced returning home

Darfur: UN-African Union official meets with displaced returning home

UNAMID peacekeepers on patrol
A senior official with the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping operation in Darfur, in western Sudan, met today with representatives of villagers returning to the war-torn region.

Henry Anyidoho, Deputy Joint Special Representative of the joint AU-UN mission, known as UNAMID, met with traditional leaders and some of the residents of a small community in South Darfur.

He held discussions on how the mission could help the resettlement of the roughly1,500 people to a secure environment after a lengthy stay in UN-protected camps, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.

Mr. Anyidoho later met with blue helmets stationed at the nearby town of Muhajeria, the scene of deadly clashes earlier this year, between the Government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which forced some 3,000 civilians to gather at the UNAMID compound seeking safety.

Meanwhile, the mission’s new Deputy Force Commander, Major General Duma Dumisani Mdutyana, visited troops at their base near the Zam Zam camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in North Darfur as part of his tour of the region’s operations.

UNAMID was established by the Security Council in 2007 to protect civilians in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million forced from their homes since violence erupted in 2003, pitting rebels against Government forces and their allied Janjaweed militiamen.