'Jebel Marra fighting did not cause displacement': North Darfur official

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According to the Deputy Governor of North Darfur, no displacement occurred as a result of militia attacks or military confrontations this year.

During her visit to Tawila in North Darfur on Monday, the Deputy Governor of North Darfur, Adam El Nahla, briefed the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Marta Ruedas, about the new displaced in the town.

He informed her that the real reasons behind the recent influx of displaced to Tawila lie in the redeployment of military forces around Khazan Tunjur that prompted the residents of villages in the area to flee to Tawila.

The redeployment just coincided with the military clashes in Jebel Marra, he stated.

The representative of the new displaced people in Tawila, Mohamed Ahmed Abdallah, strongly denied the official's allegations. He told Radio Dabanga that militiamen riding vehicles and others on camels and horses, backed by the Sudanese Air Force, attacked dozens of villages in Jebel Marra since the fighting started mid January.

“We told the UN representative during a meeting on Monday that the populations of at least 27 villages in Jebel Marra were driven from their homes after being attacked, killed, raped, and robbed by these janjaweed,” the displaced leader said. “We urged her to speed up the provision of security and food, medicines, and shelters.”

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reported in its latest weekly bulletin that between 18 January and 13 February close to 39,000 people from Jebel Marra arrived in Sortony, Tawila, and Kabkabiya in North Darfur.

As of 21 February, almost 85,000 displaced people from Jebel Marra fled into North Darfur, the vast majority of whom are women and children, OCHA reported In its Jebel Marra Crisis Fact Sheet of 22 February. About 19,500 newly displaced were verified in the Rwanda camp near Tawila.