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Aid work suspended in Darfur area after killing - UN

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July 21, 2006 (GENEVA) — International aid operations in refugee camps in the Zalinge area of Sudan’s Darfur region have been suspended after three water workers were killed by a mob, the United Nations’ refugee agency said on Friday.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the three were beaten to death on Thursday in the region near the border with Chad in circumstances that were still unclear. It is the latest in a long list of security incidents.

"UNHCR is extremely concerned about the deterioration of the security situation in Darfur," the agency said in a statement.

The incident follows an attack on two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the Djebel Mara area, north of Zalinge, two days ago and the fatal shooting of an NGO driver attacked by bandits in Darfur’s El Geneina last week, the UNHCR said.

The United States, the European Union and the United Nations are pressing Sudan to allow a U.N. mission to replace an ill-equipped African Union (AU) force in Darfur, where tens of thousands of people have been killed and 2.5 million forced into camps during more than three years of fighting.

Khartoum has repeatedly rejected the mission transfer, likening a U.N. presence in Darfur to a Western invasion.

Camp residents, some of whom have been in overcrowded shelters since the Darfur violence exploded in early 2003, have become increasingly frustrated since a peace deal struck in May failed to produce tangible results on the ground.

They said it does not represent their interests because it was signed by only one of three Darfur rebel factions and it provided no guarantee of security that would allow them to return home.

Refugees have directed their fury on AU troops in Darfur to support the peace process and some of the 14,000 aid workers spread throughout Sudan’s vast west.

(Reuters)

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