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Thousands in Kass in plight after attacks on Darfur villages

April 1 - 2010 KASS

Thousands of villagers have gathered in Kass amid fear of attacks and fighting in South Darfur. One observer estimated that 7000 families are in the area, but an aid worker told Radio Dabanga that the Humanitarian Aid Commission puts the number at 14,000 househoulds and 43,000 individuals in 16 locations.

An UN inter-agency team has conducted an assessment in the area but a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Khartoum could not provide details. The number is unconfirmed.

In all, some of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) came about 32 days ago but most came 8 days ago. The refugees are mainly from the Misseriya tribe but also include some from Beni Hassan, Houtia, Fur, Gimr and Taalba. They came to Kass after clashes between Misseriya and Nuwayba, a camel herding subtribe of the Rizeigat Arabs.

Misseriya IDPs described the attacks as undertaken by the government. They said that some attackers were wearing uniforms. In Bulbul, 30 kilometres from Kass, villagers fled when they heard and saw the oncoming attackers. They also witnessed attackers shoot some men and women and drive over bodies with vehicles. Minister of Defence Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein appointed an investigation committee to determine whether the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have been involved in the tribal clashes between the Nuwayba and Misseriya. There are no Nuwayba IDPs in Kass.

John Ratcliffe, a spokesman for the UN OCHA, said that an UN inter-agency team and partners have conducted an assessment of the situation and were delivering some nutritional and food aid. Likewise, a local source said today that CARE-Switzerland in partnership with UNICEF provided some biscuits to children but there were not enough for everyone.

Tearfund is planning to distribute shelters but the Humanitarian Aid Commission will not permit them to set up shelters until a location for an IDP camp is designated.

The total IDP population of Darfur is typically estimated to be 2.7 million.

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