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Darfur: Joint UN-African envoy voices concern over recent hostilities

UNAMID peacekeepers in El Daein, East Darfur.
UNAMID/Albert González Farran
UNAMID peacekeepers in El Daein, East Darfur.

Darfur: Joint UN-African envoy voices concern over recent hostilities

The head of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur today met with a senior government official in the region to discuss the increasingly violent clashes between tribal groups in and around El Daein and Adila in East Darfur.

“The violence must stop for the sake of everyone caught in this terrible ordeal. Fighting is not the answer and I urge all parties to resolve their differences through dialogue,” the Joint Special Representative and head of the mission (UNAMID), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, said in a news release before meeting with the Chairperson of the Darfur Regional Authority, Eltijani Seisi.

Mr. Chambas said he was deeply concerned over the high number of casualties as a result of fighting between the Rezeigat and Ma’alia.

Unresolved disputes concerning access to land resources reportedly triggered tensions between the two groups earlier this month.

The security situation has further deteriorated over the past week, resulting in more crimes against civilians, UNAMID said.

“In response, UNAMID increased its presence and patrolling in the area and transported officials from the Darfur Regional Authority to the locality to support cessation of hostilities,” according to the mission, which also sent senior personnel to the field to provide technical advice in the mediation.

Briefing the UN Security Council last month, Mr. Chambas said that the inter-ethnic clashes are “particularly worrying.”

The increased militarization and proliferation of arms amongst civilian populations in Darfur – accompanied by the deterioration in the humanitarian conditions for host communities and displaced populations – has led to more deaths, injury and displacement, than the fighting between the Government and non-signatory groups this year, he told the 15-member Council.

The clashes have also led to attacks against UNAMID peacekeepers. The latest occurred on 12 August, when a mob attacked a patrol in El Daein town. The peacekeepers were able to return safely to their base.

In mid-July, seven Tanzanian peacekeepers were killed and 17 other members of the mission were injured in a roadside ambush.

UNAMID and the Government have been supporting local mediation initiatives to facilitate reconciliation and peaceful co-existence.