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Over 2,000 Sudanese seek UN shelter in North Darfur in a week

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-08 09:11

UNITED NATIONS - More than 2,000 Sudanese have sought shelter at a UN base in North Darfur in a week after insurgents have attacked their villages, a UN spokesman said here on Monday.

Since April 1, more than 2,000 people, mostly women and children, arrived at the base in Mellit, Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, said at a daily news briefing. "They reported that their villages were attacked by armed groups suspected to be members of Rapid Support Forces and militia elements at the end of March."

The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was protecting newly internally displaced people, and "is also assisting humanitarian agencies in delivering aid to them," Haq said.

North Darfur has been plagued by unrest since late February.

Meanwhile, in Khor Abeche, South Darfur, some 3,000 displaced are continuing to take refuge inside the UNAMID's compound, where they have received food and other aid, Haq said.

A team of engineers from the UN mission is working in securing the camp located next to the mission's base, he said. When completed, it will have a secure perimeter covering an area of 70,000 square meters.

"The displaced currently inside UNAMID's base will be able to settle in the near future in this secure area," he said.

Haq declined to comment on questions about leaked memos indicating problems with the UN mission's reporting, but noted that just as with every other mission, "there is tension between the necessity to preserve the consent and good will of the host government required to allow peacekeepers to do their jobs and the sometimes contradictory imperative to report accurately and candidly on any and all incidents of violence."

He said that UN Peacekeeping is aware of the issues raised in recent articles and takes them very seriously.

The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations launched a Strategic Review to assess UNAMID's performance in an environment in which new conflict dynamics have emerged and old ones remain unaddressed, he said.

He noted the latest special report of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Strategic Review of UNAMID identifies three main challenges faced by the mission: the cooperation of the government; internal managerial and coordination issues, especially with the UN Country Team; and the capabilities of UN troops and police contributors.

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