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‘Thousands affected by new Darfur clashes’: UN

January 21 - 2016 KHARTOUM
New displaced at Kalma camp in South Darfur, 9 March 2014 (Albert González Farran/Unamid)
New displaced at Kalma camp in South Darfur, 9 March 2014 (Albert González Farran/Unamid)

Thousands of civilians in Jebel Marra could be affected by the new clashes between government forces and rebels in the area, the UN said on Tuesday, amid ongoing fighting.

Government troops and rebels have been battling in and around the area of Mount Marra that is a stronghold of the mainstream Sudan Liberation Army led by Abdelwahid El Nur that is battling Khartoum since 2003.

“Thousands of people live in this remote part of Darfur, and the protection of men, women and children is a top priority amid the chaos of fighting which could lead to widespread displacement of entire communities,” said Ivo Freijsen, Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan.

“The impact on civilians of the ongoing hostilities that are being reported in Jebel Marra between government and rebel forces can only be of paramount concern to the humanitarian community here,” he said in a statement.

The attacks took place despite President Al Bashir's announcement on 31 December of a one-month extension to a ceasefire he declared in September for Darfur and the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

The SLM-AW was the first rebel movement that took up arms against the marginalisation of Darfur nearly 13 years ago. In response, Khartoum unleashed the Sudanese Air Force, ground forces, and allied militias in the region to crush the insurgency with full impunity.

More than 300,000 civilians have been killed since 2003. About 2.5 million people were displaced, according to the UN.

(Reliefweb, AFP)

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