Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over a string of recent incidents that have contributed to a worsening of the situation in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region, where tensions continue at a camp for displaced persons and two United Nations-African Union peacekeepers were seized on Saturday.
An investigation is still under way into the abduction of the two police advisors who serve with the joint UN-AU peacekeeping force (UNAMID), which was set up to protect civilians and quell the violence in Darfur, where nearly seven years of fighting has killed at least 300,000 people and driven 2.7 million others from their homes.
“Continued attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers and abductions and mistreatment of UN staff and humanitarian workers will only aggravate the situation,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.
The incident is the latest in a series of attacks against UNAMID personnel in recent months, and comes as tensions continue at the Kalma camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nyala, South Darfur.
Violence erupted at the camp late last month following the latest round of peace talks in the Qatari capital, Doha, aimed at bringing an end to the Darfur conflict, with some of the camp’s residents saying they were not fully represented, UN News Service reports.
Mr. Ban, according to the statement, appreciated the restoration today of some humanitarian access to Kalma camp, which is home to an estimated 82,000 people and which had been off limits to UN humanitarian agencies and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for nearly two weeks.
In addition to the obstruction of aid efforts at Kalma camp, approximately 100,000 people affected by fighting in the eastern Jebel Marra region have been unreachable since February, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The Office noted that constraints on aid agencies operating in Darfur have been steadily increasing since March 2009, when 11 international NGOs were expelled from the region.
The Secretary-General called on the Sudanese Government “to apprehend and bring to justice those who attack UN staff and humanitarian workers and to take all possible measures to ensure that humanitarian access to all Sudanese remains open and humanitarian space protected,” the statement added.