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UN Envoy Warns Darfur Aid Effort at Risk

26 March 2007

The United Nations humanitarian chief has warned that aid efforts in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region are at risk of collapse.

John Holmes said Sunday that the effort to aid refugees is fragile and could fail if the situation deteriorates.

He spoke in a refugee camp in Darfur after being barred by Sudanese soldiers from visiting another camp Saturday.

Germany and Britain have called for extra sanctions on Sudan for barring U.N. peacekeepers from the vast western region.

Meanwhile, in Sudan's capital Khartoum Sunday, a former Darfur rebel group warned that its peace deal with the government is in jeopardy.

Spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Movement Saif Haroun told VOA that the agreement is in danger because police in Khartoum's twin city Omdurman killed eight former rebels on Saturday.

News reports say fighting broke out when the former rebels refused to turn over two members involved in a traffic accident.

The SLM is the only Darfur rebel group to have signed a peace agreement with the Islamic government in Khartoum.

Fighting in Darfur between rebels and militias backed by the Sudanese government has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced at least two million since 2003.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has blocked U.N. efforts to send peacekeeping forces into Darfur to relieve an ill-equipped African Union force that has not been able to stop the violence.

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