March 3, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said it was alarmed by a recent escalation of violence in South Darfur state, calling for unrestricted humanitarian access to affected civilians in conflict-affected areas.
In a statement released on Monday, UNAMID reported the burning of a number of villages and the displacement of a large number of civilians near Um Gunya, located about 50 kilometres south-east of Nyala.
In a separate statement, the Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC) said government militias launched “a destructive military operation against the civilian population” in south-east of Nyala.
Neither the advocacy group or UNAMID mentioned the reasons for the attack, however, the DRDC estimates that about 5,000 displaced villagers reached Kalma camp outside Nyala and Al-Salam camp in Beilel locality.
It said more than 10,000 “are currently living in the wilderness as they were prevented by the militiamen from reaching urban areas and IDP settlements”.
“UNAMID calls upon the authorities to allow the Mission unhindered and immediate access to these areas, so that it can carry out its core activity for the protection of civilians as mandated by the African Union and the United Nations and as consented to by the Government of Sudan,” the agency said.
The peacekeeping mission said they had received reports of looting, arson and “civilians casualties” as displaced people arrived at Kalam and Al-Salam camps.
The Geneva-based DRDC said that the attacks were carried out by a militia group led Ahmed “Hemedti” Hamdan. The same group committed a series of attacks outside the capital of North Kordofan in January, triggering a protest against their presence there.