UN: Ban troubled by Darfur rape allegations, urges 'unfettered' access to town

New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said he is deeply troubled about persistent allegations of mass rape in Tabit, North Darfur, and urged Sudanese government
officials to grant unfettered access to the town so that investigators can verify these reports.

In a UN statement obtained by PANA in New York on Tuesday, Ban expressed concern that
even after intense consultations with the government in Khartoum and with local authorities in
Darfur, those investigating the reports were on Sunday denied access to the town of Tabit.

Earlier this month, allegations of the mass rape of 200 women and girls in a town in North Darfur
raised concerns in the war-torn Sudanese region as the UN/AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
pressed ahead with its efforts ascertain what happened.

UNAMID had first visited Tabit on 9 Nov., but the heavy presence of military and police in Tabit made a conclusive investigation difficult.

"Only a full investigation by UNAMID will help shed light over these serious allegations," the UN chief said, urging the Government of Sudan to grant UNAMID unfettered access, without further delay, to Tabit and its population so that these reports can be verified.

He said UNAMID had again asked for access to Tabit and would deploy a team immediately, once such access has been granted.

Tensions have been simmering across Darfur over the past few months. In October, an
attack on UNAMID peacekeepers by armed militants claimed the lives of three peacekeepers.

The UN estimates that some 385,000 people have been displaced by the conflict between the Government of Sudan and armed movements in Darfur since the start of 2014.

The world body has repeatedly called on all sides to join negotiations aimed at achieving a
permanent ceasefire and comprehensive peace for the people of Darfur, which has witnessed
fighting since 2003.

UNAMID, formally established in 2007, has been mandated to protect civilians, support
humanitarian assistance, monitor and verify implementation of agreements, contribute to
the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, and assist in the political reconciliation
following the 2003 civil war between the Government of Sudan and militias and other
armed rebel groups.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 18Nov2014

18 november 2014 07:19:04

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