US Concerned About Escalating Tribal Violence in North Darfur

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The United States of America today expressed deep concern on the renewed violent clashes between heavily armed tribal militias in North Darfur and between Sudanese government forces and rebels in Jebel Marra.

Reports say the renewed clashes have resulted in civilian deaths and displaced some 100,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance.

The conflict began when two Arab tribes,the Beni Hussein and the Northern Rezigat fought over rights to gold mines.

In her remarks in Washington DC today, US Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland notes that in just the first month of 2013, more civilians have been newly displaced by violence in Darfur than in all of 2012.

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Gambian peacekeepers are shown during their escort of a visitor to the African UnionUnited Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)’s headquarters in El Fasher, North Darfur. UN Photo

To meet the humanitarian needs of those affected by these clashes, the US calls on the Sudanese government to grant UN agencies unrestricted access to all areas of Darfur, and to work closely with UN agencies, humanitarian actors, and the African Union – United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) to deliver assistance.

“We urge the Sudanese government to urgently disarm militias in Darfur, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1556; to cease aerial bombardments; and to implement the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur as the basis for a more inclusive and effective peace process.” – Ms. Nuland

In addition, UNAMID has received reports of fighting earlier this month between the Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes in the Jabel Amir area of North Darfur.

On 13 and 14 January, UNAMID deployed a team, consisting of civilian, military and police personnel, to the three affected areas. The team found evidence of mass displacement, including those displaced from their homes in villages around El Sereif, along with workers who said they had fled from the work sites at the Jabel Amir gold mines as a result of the fighting.

According to reports, an estimated 70,000 people have been displaced and more than 100 killed since the clashes broke out.

Record of Previous Violence

In October 2012, security situation deteriorated in North Darfur as clashes between Sudanese forces and rebels continue to rage in the region.

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Young children are pictured at a tent camp in Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur, where thousands of Sudanese from across Darfur have settled to flee fighting between government and rebel forces. 4,000 additional refugees arrived in Shangil Tobaya in December 2010 alone. UN Photo

Reports say aerial bombardment of civilian areas by the Sudanese armed forces has killed seventy civilians in Hashaba, North Darfur last week.

The United States was appalled by the recent deadly attack on a patrol of the United Nations African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) on October 2 in El Geneina, West Darfur, which resulted in the death of four peacekeepers and the injury of eight others.

The US renewsed call on the Government of Sudan and the Darfur Regional Authority to conduct promptly full and credible investigations into all attacks against UNAMID, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

In September 2012, security situation has lso began deteriorating at North Darfur’s town of Kutum as violence rages again in the South Sudanese state, leading to several casualties.

Reports say rash of shootings, including an assassination attempt on a local official were cited by United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known by the acronym UNAMID.

According to UNAMID, the incidents reportedly resulted in several dead and wounded, and UNAMID evacuated wounded civilians to El-Fasher by helicopter for emergency medical treatment.

Earlier in August 2012, the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) leadership expressed its deep concern over the spread of violence and attacks against civilian population in Kutum, North Darfur.

The series of incidents began on 1 August when the Commissioner of the district of Alwaha, in Kutum town, and his driver were shot dead.

On the same day armed men surrounded Kassab, looted the market, burnt down the Sudanese Police post in the camp and reportedly killed four persons.

Reports say UNAMID has taken measures, including 24/7 protection force presence in affected IDP camps to protect civilians and reinforced the strength of its forces.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.