Fresh fighting breaks out in Darfur

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- A fresh military uprising has broken out in South ern Darfur region of Jabel Marra, weeks after rebel movements from the region co n verged in Doha, Qatar, for talks on ways of ending years of fighting in the regi o n.
The fighting between the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), under the leadership o f the Paris-based rebel leader, Abdulwahed Nur, and a group of government-backed rebel groups in the mountainous region of Jabel Marra, has killed several civili a ns and displaced more.
SLM leader Abdul Wahed was quoted by Sudan Tribune as saying his forces repelled an attempt by the government to take over the rebel-held positions in Jabel Mar r a.
SLM said its fighters repelled the attack, killing some 64 soldiers.
He said the attack was meant to force his faction to participate in the ongoing peace negot i ations in Doha.
The Joint African Union/United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said Tu esday it had tightened its security presence in the area.
UNAMID said the fighting was mainly in Jabel Marra, South Darfur and Jabel Moon, West Darfur.
The latest fighting in the region had displaced several civilians, UNAMID said i n a statement sent to PANA Tuesday.
â?The UNAMID calls on all parties to exercise maximum restraint following recen t hostilities in Jebel Marra, South Darfur, and Jebel Moon, West Darfur.
The cla s hes over the past few days have left many dead and caused thousands to flee thei r homes.
â? Darfur rebel movements, meeting in Doha, have been labouring to beat a March dea dline for a political deal, ahead of the Presidential elections, scheduled for A p ril 2010.
UNAMID said its peacekeeping forces were increasing their security presence in a nd around the region, to prevent a further escalation of violence.
â?The Mission is also collaborating closely with aid agencies to urgently meet the humanitarian needs of the newly-displaced peoples,â? it said.
It is estimated that the latest fighting in the region has displaced over 20,000 people.
UNAMID chief, Prof.
Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria, said he was â?gravely concerned â? over the events.
â?Such confrontations may negatively affect the ongoing peace process, which ha s recently seen significant strides towards bringing stability to the region,â? he said.
Gambari was in Doha recently to speak with representatives from both the Sudanes e government and rebel groups on the progress of the peace talks.
He said UNAMID would focus on helping to secure lasting peace and stability in t he region by enhancing the security of civilians and internally-displaced person s in the region.

16 february 2010 12:32:00

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