Security situation calm in Darfur after recent attacks - UN

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- The security situation in Darfur was relatively calm aga in over the weekend, the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) to the strife-torn Sudanese region has said.
The mission made the statement against a deadly background of attacks which saw eight peacekeepers killed earlier in July.
UNAMID said about 2,000 people, mostly students, took part in a peaceful demonst ration in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, Sunday.
The mission has conducted 19 security and confidence-building patrols across the region over the past 24 hours, and UN agencies have also continued to carry out their humanitarian operations.
Ameerah Haq, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, said that essential life- saving services would continue to be provided to Darfur's most vulnerable citize n s despite the ongoing insecurity, which has limited aid access to some areas.
Haq called for the support for Sudanese authorities to help ensure that critical services reached the affected population in Darfur, where as many as 300,000 pe o ple are estimated to have been killed as a result of direct combat, disease or m a lnutrition since 2003.
"Another 2.
7 million people have been displaced because of fighting between rebe ls, Government forces and allied militiamen known as the Janjaweed," said the UN mission.
UNAMID Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada met Sunday with the incoming UN-AU Chief Mediator for Darfur, Djibril Yipènè Bassolé, briefing him on the lat e st developments, including efforts to speed up the deployment of the mission.
Monday, Adada met Amr Moussa, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, to discu ss cooperation and peace in Darfur in the wake of the recent war crimes charges l aid by the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor against Sudanese Presid e nt Omar El-Bashir.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary-General Jane Holl Lute and General Martin Luther Agwai, the UNAMID Force Commander, visited troops Monday in the North Darfur town of Sh angil Tobaya to show the support of the mission and the wider UN for their work.
Seven peacekeepers were killed 8 July in an ambush on a UNAMID patrol near Um Ha kibah in North Darfur, while another peacekeeper was shot dead in West Darfur We d nesday.
General Agwai wrote Tuesday in Johannesburg's Mail and Guardian that the situati on had deteriorated so much that the force should be broadened to include more n o n-African participation.
He said the resolution which authorised the mission outlines a predominantly Afr ican character for UNAMID, rather than an exclusively African character.
"Given the understandable constraints among African contributing nations, we sho uld now be able to turn to those non-African countries willing and able to assis t our mission at short notice.
Darfurians deserve nothing less," he wrote.
General Agwai also called for the urgent reinforcement of the mission, including both individual troop deployment and the provision of missing equipment and res o urces, such as tactical helicopters.
The mission currently has just over a third of the 26,000 troops and police offi cers expected when it reaches full deployment.
"I am deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation here.
Peacekee ping has become a deadly business," he wrote, referring to the recent attacks.
Darfur's rebel movements have splintered from a handful two years ago to nearly 30 separate factions and groups, and they continue to press on with attacks, inc l uding against members of UNAMID.
"The movements have had it too easy for too long.
It is time for them to demonst rate that they are serious about peace.
They must lay down their weapons and sit around the negotiating table with the government.
" General Agwai also urged the Sudanese Government to take steps to achieve a sust ainable settlement in Darfur, an arid and impoverished region on the country's w e stern flank.

22 july 2008 18:04:00

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