Home | News    Wednesday 30 July 2003

Widespread insecurity reported in Darfur

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NAIROBI, July 30, 2003 (IRIN) — Insecurity in Darfur, northwestern Sudan, is said to be deteriorating rapidly with widespread looting by the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) rebel group and retaliatory attacks by the Sudanese government, coupled with increased local banditry and ongoing conflicts between different ethnic groups.

SLA rebels regularly attacked and looted villages taking food and sometimes killing people, humanitarian sources in contact with the region told IRIN. On 19 July they attacked Tawila town, 60 km from El Fasher, killing two policemen and two civilians.

Last Friday, unknown armed raiders attacked a grain bank, health unit and local market in Mado village in the Sayah area, looting food, furniture and medicines, the sources said.

The attacks present a real threat to people’s food security and livelihoods, by preventing them from planting and accessing markets to buy food, the sources added. Grain prices have increased by as much as 200 percent in some areas and livestock prices have decreased especially in Kutum, Kebkabia and Jebel Si.

Northern Kutum province has remained inaccessible to humanitarian workers for six months and Kebkabia for almost one year. According to the sources, people have been displaced in both provinces by ground fighting and bombing.

The local authorities estimate there are about 6,000 IDPs in Kutum. Furthermore, Kebkabia is currently affected by drought and needs urgent food aid to tie it over until the next harvest in September.

An increased military presence in the region has also led to a rapid deterioration in the human rights situation, with people being subjected to arbitrary arrests and interrogations, the sources said. Humanitarian workers are not being given clearance to visit the affected areas.

Regional analysts told IRIN the situation was particularly worrying because there were no independent monitors in the region, nor any means of recording the widespread abuses and killings.

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