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Africa

Peacekeepers warn of resurgent violence in Darfur

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Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-30

The head of the joint African Union – United Nations peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s Darfur said Friday that resurgent violence was hampering his forces’ ability to monitor the troubled region.

AFP - Increased insecurity in Sudan's Darfur has restricted peacekeepers' ability to work, the head of the joint UN-AU mission in the western region said on Friday.

"Our ability to monitor and respond has... been restricted in the past few days due to the heightened insecurity in parts of North and South Darfur," said Ibrahim Gambari, who leads UNAMID, the joint African Union-United Nations Mission to the region.

He did not elaborate on the exact source of instability but said: "Fighting continues in some places, most dramatically with the recent clashes in North Darfur which spilled over into North Kordofan where JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim was killed".

The Darfur-based Justice and and Equality Movement (JEM), which was Darfur's most heavily armed group, announced on December 25 that Ibrahim had been killed by government forces two days earlier.

Sudan's military said the rebel chief was wounded and died later from a clash with Khartoum's troops in Umm-Gozain, an area of North Kordofan state near North Darfur.

His death has created uncertainty as to the future of JEM, which in November formed with other rebel groups the new Sudanese Revolutionary Front dedicated to "popular uprising and armed rebellion" against the National Congress Party regime in Khartoum.

Factions of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) of Darfur, headed by Minni Minnawi and Abdelwahid Nur, also joined the alliance, along with the SPLM-North rebel group which operates elsewhere in Sudan.

SLA and JEM refused to sign in July the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, which Khartoum inked in Qatar with an alliance of rebel splinter factions, the Liberation and Justice Movement.

Sudan's foreign ministry alleged Thursday that 350 members of JEM had crossed the previous day into South Sudan, which became independent from Sudan in July.

Despite the recent insecurity, Gambari said violence has cooled in several parts of Darfur, where UNAMID has increased its presence in the past year, nearly doubling its daily patrols.

Almost 18,000 troops are assigned to the mission.

"In addition, the continued efforts by the governments of Sudan and Chad to secure their common border have decreased tensions and violence," Gambari said.

According to the UN, at least 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur, where fighting began in 2003 between non-Arab rebels and the Arab-dominated central government.

Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.

Date created : 2011-12-30

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