UN, AU joint mission in Darfur reports fighting, problems carrying out patrols

16:20, July 15, 2010      

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The United Nations and African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) has reported clashes between Sudanese Armed Forces and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) fighters in two areas of Darfur, as well as the obstruction of UNAMID forces doing routine patrols, a UN official said here Wednesday.

Farhan Haq, the UN associate spokesman, told reporters that Sudanese army and JEM fighters fought Tuesday near the Adola Mountains and the town of Kuma in north Darfur.

"The number of possible casualties has yet to be determined," he said.

Haq explained that UNAMID is also investigating reports of a second clash in north Darfur, this time in the town of Daba Tago.

News of these outbreaks of violence comes as UNAMID is facing difficulties carrying out its work in the south part of the Darfur region.

"UNAMID continues to face restrictions on its movements," explained Haq. "In south Darfur, a UNAMID convoy conducting a routine patrol was denied access to Changi village, 20 kilometers east of Nyala by authorities for the second time in 10 days with no reasons given."

Restrictions are still in place on UN aircraft in south Darfur, which Haq said has made it difficult for aid groups to reach those who need their assistance, as the existing roads are rain-damaged and potentially dangerous.

On Monday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) added counts of genocide to the list of crimes that Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir is currently charged with, due to his conduct in the civil war that has raged in the Darfur region of Sudan since 2003. Sudan, in turn, said that the new ICC move was "political."

Fighting between the Sudanese government with their allies the Janjaweed militia and other armed rebel groups has caused an estimated 300,000 deaths and 2.7 million displacements of people from their homes in Darfur, reports said. UNAMID was deployed in Darfur in 2007, replacing an African Union only peacekeeping force.

Source: Xinhua


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