Thursday, August 30, 2012

After Violence, Refugees Return to Camps in North Darfur

About 80 percent of the residents of a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in North Darfur, Sudan, have returned to the camp, in the aftermath of the recent violence which displaced 25,000 IDPs, the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known by the acronym UNAMID, reported today.  “[UN] humanitarian agencies and non-governmental partner organizations have been able to resume their activities in the camp,” UNAMID stated in a news release, citing information from the agencies.

“Food distribution began, a mobile clinic is operating and an assessment of the needs of the affected population is ongoing to provide the assistance required, including non-food items such as plastic sheets, mats and blankets,” it added. The violence had begun on August 1st, with the shooting of a district commissioner and his driver during a car-jacking by three unidentified armed men. The vehicle was recovered later that same day, in the vicinity of the Kassab IDP camp, located near the town of Kutum, some 120 kilometres from the state capital of El Fasher.  Later that day, armed men surrounded Kassab, looted its market and burnt down the police post located within. Three civilians and one police officer were reported killed, in addition to six people injured.

In the following days, similar events took place – such as fighting between armed elements and Government forces, looting and the displacement of civilians – leading to a deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation at the Kassab and Fataborno IDP camps, as well as around Kutum. The incidents forced more than 25,000 IDPs from the camp to flee and seek refuge in Kutum.  In response, UNAMID has been providing a round-the-clock presence with continuous patrols, monitoring movements in and around the camp and facilitating humanitarian assistance.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

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