In a meeting with the Sudanese minister of interior, the head of UNAMID urged the central government to ensure that UN humanitarian convoys have access to Labado and Muhajeriya to provide aid to people in need.
Both towns in East Darfur have been the stage of armed dispute between the rebel movement SLA-MM and the Sudanese armed forces (SAF).
UN OCHA says Labado and Muhajeriya are located in strategic positions along main routes used by traders and humanitarians to move supplies from Khartoum through East Darfur to South Darfur.
UNAMID Chief Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, in light of recent developments in and around the cities, also urged the government to prevent civilian loss of life and property as it reestablishes its control over these areas.
Labado and Muhajeriya had been under rebel control for two weeks, but SAF recaptured both of them between Tuesday and Wednesday as SLA-MM withdrew.
UNAMID had previously confirmed that SAF, supported by the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) and another armed group, regained control of Labado on Tuesday “after fierce fighting”. Muhajeriya was recaptured on Wednesday.
The warring parties are blaming each other for carrying out widespread violence against civilians.
The mission estimates that some 18,000 displaced civilians remain concentrated around UNAMID team sites near Muhajeriya and Labado towns since fighting broke out between the government forces and the SLA-MM.
It stressed that the displaced populations are still waiting for much-needed humanitarian aid.
For its part, another UN agency declared that about 36,000 civilians fled the clashes and gathered around UNAMID bases in Labado and in Muhajeriya. The numbers are based on estimates by the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC).
File photo: An aerial view of Muhajeriya town in East Darfur State (sudanforum.net)
Related: SAF, rebels lay mutual blames for violence in Darfur town takeover (17 April 2013)