Sudan urged to step up protection, restore peace, following West Darfur violence
Authorities in Sudan are being urged to restore peace and order in the wake of intercommunal clashes in West Darfur state which erupted on Sunday and left 65 people dead, 54 injured, and thousands displaced.
The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) made the appeal in a statement issued on Friday, expressing deep concern over the situation.
Humanitarians reported that villages were burned and camps for internally displaced people also were attacked.
“UNAMID condemns the violence and stresses the importance of resolving all disputes in a peaceful and amicable manner and calls on all parties to restrain from the use of force, especially against civilian population, including women and children,” the statement said.
'Peaceful and durable solutions' needed, stresses Guterres
Later on Friday, UN chief António Guterres condemned "the violent intercommunal clashes that have taken place" around El Geneina, and stressed "the importance of finding peaceful and durable solutions to the situation in Darfur that address the key drivers of conflict in that region. In that regard, he reaffirms his strong support to the ongoing negotiations in the framework of the Sudanese peace process", said the statement.
"The Secretary-General calls on the authorities swiftly to investigate these incidents and to hold the perpetrators accountable. He also urges them to redouble their efforts to provide a secure environment for the populations of Darfur, in particular the most vulnerable."
Dire need for basic services
It is estimated that 30,000 people were forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in and around the state capital, El Geneina, the UN humanitarian affairs coordination office, OCHA, said, citing information from the Government.
Agency partners are working to verify the numbers of displaced, whose most urgent needs include shelter, food, water, and health services.
UNAMID also relocated 32 aid workers to Zalingei, capital of neighbouring Central Darfur state, amid security concerns.
“While the Mission acknowledges the efforts exerted by the Government to contain the situation, it further calls upon the relevant government authorities to maximize their efforts to establish a protective environment and restore peace and order in and around the greater El Geneina community,” the statement continued.
“It is a matter of priority to engender an environment which is conducive to the resumption of uninterrupted humanitarian operations, given the dire needs of the affected population for basic services.”
Deadly plane crash
Separately, a Sudanese military plane crashed shortly after taking off from El Geneina Airport on Thursday, killing at least 18 people, according to media reports.
The victims included a staff member with the World Food Progamme (WFP), together with his wife and two children.
The UN chief conveyed his heartfelt sympathy to the families of the victims, and extended his condolences to the people and Government of Sudan.