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Security in south Darfur town shows no improvement, says UN

18 June 2007 The security situation in the southern Darfur town of Gereida has not improved and militia attacks against civilians, especially women, are continuing, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said today after wrapping up a four-day visit to the town.

UNMIS conducted the visit to Gereida to follow up on the Darfur Peace Agreement’s (DPA) effect on the overall security situation, livelihoods and tribal reconciliation, according to a news bulletin issued by the Mission. Gereida is a key town about 90 kilometres south of the provincial capital, Nyala.

The UNMIS team found that Janjaweed attacks outside towns were ongoing and women were still subject to rape and harassment.

The DPA, signed in May 2006 between the Sudanese Government and part of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), was supposed to put an end to the fierce fighting in Darfur, and the agreement covers security, wealth-sharing and power-sharing.

But the Darfur conflict has raged on and some 200,000 people have now been killed since 2003 and more than 2 million others have had to flee their homes, resulting in large numbers of Sudanese refugees in neighbouring Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR).

In a related development, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed France’s offer to airlift life-saving humanitarian assistance to a growing number of Sudanese refugees and displaced Chadians living in an “increasingly precarious situation.”

“With the onset of the rainy season, thousands of refugees and internally displaced people will face even greater hardship. This airlift will help avoid any critical gaps in our operation to feed thousands of people,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

WFP aimed to pre-position a six-month supply of food to feed 240,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 camps and 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in eastern Chad through the rainy season from June to November. So far, it has managed to build four months of food stocks.

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