Darfur: African Union-UN envoy concerned over surge in factional violence

The joint African Union-United Nations envoy to Darfur has expressed concern over recent armed clashes between various factions in the northern part of the war-ravaged Sudanese region.
AU-UN Special Representative Rodolphe Adada called on the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudanese Liberation Army/Minni Minawi wing (SLA/MM) to end hostilities, which flared up over the weekend in the North Darfur town of Umm Baru.
The UN News Service noted that the hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping mission, known as UNAMID, had transported 26 people injured in the fighting to the North Darfur capital of El Fasher for medical treatment at the military hospital.
The Special Representative also held discussions yesterday with the Under-Secretary of the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mutrif Siddiq, and the Presidential Adviser, Mustafa Osman Ismail, during separate meetings in Khartoum.
In a briefing to the Security Council in April, Adada estimated that around 2000 civilians have been in killed in Darfur since UNAMID deployed last year.
Some 15 peacekeepers have also lost their lives since the UNAMID force was set up by the Security Council to protect civilians in Darfur, where an estimated 300 000 people have been killed in total and another 2.7 million have been forced from their homes in more than five years of fighting, pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen.
Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) has started distributing emergency food supplies for May in areas most affected by the Government`s expulsion of 13 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The expulsion as well as the revocation of the permits of three local NGOs came after the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant in early March for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
For food assistance beyond June, WFP is preparing to launch a special operation in Darfur, designed to compensate for the gaps in humanitarian relief aid left by the ouster of the NGOs.
In North and South Darfur, the UN Children`s Fund (UNICEF) has entered into agreements with partner organizations to set up a health clinic and psychosocial activities formerly managed by expelled NGOs in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
However, in West Darfur three of the 13 therapeutic feeding centres formerly managed by expelled NGOs remain out of action, either due to insecurity or lack of alternative resources.