25 February 2013

Sudan: Renewed North Darfur Clashes Stress Civilians 'Vulnerability' - UN

Photo: Tim McKulka/UN Photo
Victims of ethnic violence receiving treatment at a hospital in Akobo, Sudan (file photo).

Al-Sref Beni Hussein — Renewed clashes in Al-Sref Beni Hussein, North Darfur, between Abbala and Beni Hussein tribesmen have "highlighted once more the vulnerability of civilians in the area", according to the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.

Mr. Ali Al-Za'tari expressed his "profound concern" about the safety and well-being of civilians in the area, while confirming reports that over 50 people were killed in the fighting last week and that 60.000 are currently stranded in Al-Sref town, as quoted in a press statement from 25 February.

Humanitarian organizations have been coordinating closely with local government authorities and with the UNAMID peacekeeping mission in Darfur to deliver urgently needed surgical supplies and to evacuate seriously wounded people, a media brief read.

UNAMID, in a press statement, declared it airlifted on 24 February 37 wounded civilians, including one woman and two children, from Al-Sref Beni Hussein locality to El-Fasher, capital of North Darfur, for medical treatment.

It further declared transporting 2.700 kilograms of medical and other supplies to the civilians affected by the tribal clashes in North Darfur.

Two days after receiving reports of resumed tribal hostilities near Al-Sref Beni Hussein, UNAMID asserted deploying "peacekeepers to establish a temporary operating base to secure the area and to facilitate the work of humanitarian organizations".

"Living under tress"

Meanwhile, those who fled their homes to Saraf Omra due to last month's hostilities between the Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes are still living under trees, by creeks or in the outskirts of the town.

One of them pointed to Radio Dabanga on Monday they do not have food, medicine or shelter and are living in "inhumane conditions" since they firstly arrived in the city. In addition, the displaced do not have the support of local or international organizations, he declared.

Red Cross reportedly completed about 20 days ago an inventory list of the amount of civilians living in Saraf Omra and their needs and the displaced claim to have handed over the list to the locality's executive director, Ismail Abdul Rahim.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga Rahim admitted he did not provide the displaced "any humanitarian aid" and said he carried out another survey that was just finished.

He did not disclose to Radio Dabanga how many are in need of assistance according to the new list, but he asserted it would be submitted to international humanitarian agencies so that they could provide aid to Saraf Omra's displaced.

According to Red Cross' list, two weeks ago Saraf Omra was housing 25.000 people fleeing the tribal clashes. The amount, however, did not include an extra 10.000 displaced who had arrived to the city as the list was being completed, as quoted by a local source.

The UN estimates that some 100.000 people were displaced in connection with the Abbala/Beni Hussein tribal clashes over control of a gold mine in Jebel 'Amer on 5 January. It stated this was the largest forced displacement in Darfur in years.

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