- The joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has today voiced grave concern over a significant surge in the number of government and rebel troops in the war-ravaged western region of Sudan.
The Blue helmets on the ground have observed an unusual increase, most notably in Sortony and Kabkabiya in North Darfur state, from both government and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid faction (SLA/AW) forces.
“It may signal the impending start of a new cycle of armed confrontations in the area,” the mission said in a news release, calling on all parties to refrain from violence, which will inevitably result in death and injury to combatants.
UNAMID underscored that conflict also leads to dire consequences for the civilian population, with loss of life, destruction of property, and massive displacement, negating the gains made so far in attempts to restore peace to Darfur.
“The only way for a peaceful resolution of the conflict is through dialogue and negotiations,” stressed UNAMID.
Since January 2008, the mission has been trying to quell the violence in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others displaced as a result of conflict pitting rebels against the Government and its allied Janjaweed militiamen since 2003.
Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen shot and wounded three peacekeepers, two critically, from the UNAMID in an attack on Saturday in the war-ravaged region on the western flank of the Sudan.
The police unit came under fire near Zalingei, West Darfur, while escorting a UNAMID garbage truck. The armed men reportedly stole the police vehicle and escaped.
This is the second attack on UNAMID in a week and the mission has repeated its appeal to the government in Khartoum to hasten its investigation of these incidents and help bring them to an end. UNAMID has also launched its own probe into the incident.
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