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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
27 December 2006

SUDAN: Violence displaces more civilians in Darfur

NAIROBI, 27 Dec 2006 (IRIN) - Thousands of people have gone into hiding in hills near the North Darfur village of Abu Sakin after Arab militias continued their destructive rampage across parts of the western Sudanese region, aid workers said.

A United Nations assessment mission on Saturday found the village of Abu Sakin completely deserted and looted. More than 50 houses had been burnt to the ground to discourage the villagers from returning there.

Meanwhile, government security forces have increased the number of roadblocks in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher following Saturday's shooting of a police officer and an increase in car-jackings.

The violence has continued elsewhere, after 10 Janjaweed militia are alleged to have attacked two trucks carrying food aid in Habila Kanari, West Darfur. The driver of one of the vehicles was injured in the ambush.

In Jebel Marra, fresh fighting has forced people to abandon their homes in Zalingei, with Hamadia camp receiving 200 more people over the weekend, UN News reported on Tuesday.

An estimated four million people in the western Sudanese region of Darfur now depend on humanitarian aid as result of fighting between government forces, allied militias and rebel groups, according to the UN. At least 200,000 people have been killed and two million others forced to flee their homes over the past three years.

The first group of UN police advisers and military officers are to now be deployed in Darfur after agreement was reached between the Sudanese government and African Union (AU).

"Under the light support package, 24 police advisers and 43 staff officers will start to be deployed in the next few days. The balance of military and police officers will be deployed in the coming weeks," the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said in a statement on Monday.

The officers will wear their national uniforms with a blue UN beret, plus an AU armband.

Under an initial US $21 million support package to the AU, UNMIS will provide 105 military advisers, 33 police officers and 48 civilian staff, as well as equipment.

The support is the first part of a three-phase process that is expected to culminate in a hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force in Darfur of 17,000 troops and 3,000 police officers, compared to AMIS' (African [Union] Mission in Sudan) current strength of 7,000.



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