Following a series of armed attacks on camps hosting displaced Sudanese in central Darfur, the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission there has urged all parties to respect designated humanitarian areas, which it says should be free of weapons, threats, and violence.
“The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) expresses deep concern about recent attacks on three different internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Central Darfur state, which took place between 21 and 23 May 2018, resulting in a number of civilian fatalities and injuries among IDPs,” said a press release issued by the mission on Thursday.
Last year, the UN decided to reduce the number of peacekeepers in Darfur but made an exception for Central Darfur state, where rebels refuse to join the peace process or hold to a ceasefire.
According to media reports, the fighting between the government forces and the armed groups has recently intensified, destabilizing the region.
The latest incidents reportedly occurred in the space of three days at Khamsa Dagaig, Ardayba and Jedda IDP camps.
UNAMID said that IDP camps are considered humanitarian space, and attacks on them could constitute a grave violation of international humanitarian law.
“While the prime responsibility of protecting civilians rests with the Government of Sudan, UNAMID shall continue to collaborate with the relevant government authorities on protecting civilians and engage with them regarding this matter at all levels,” said Jeremiah Mamabolo, UNAMID Joint Special Representative.
Meanwhile, UNAMID has taken several measures in response to these recent attacks, including more frequent patrols in and around the affected camps, as well as dispatching integrated teams to verify these incidents to prevent further attacks.
“UNAMID continues to monitor events and take appropriate measures, in line with its protection of civilians mandate from the United Nations Security Council,” said the mission.