Sudan

Sudan: Senior UN officials head to Darfur to assess humanitarian, political situations

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Two senior United Nations officials are headed to Sudan's Western Darfur region to assess the humanitarian and political situations, following a weekend which saw a number of serious incidents of banditry and other violence in the war-torn area the size of France.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Deputy Special Representative for Humanitarian Affairs and Development, Manuel Aranda Da Silva, will visit the Kalma camp in South Darfur on Wednesday, along with Sudan's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister.

They will assess the situation in what has become the largest camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Darfur, with a population of approximately 140,000. Citing banditry and security incidents, the Sudanese Government has imposed a blockade that cuts off commercial traffic to the camp. In addition, displaced persons cannot travel to nearby Nyala.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, will participate in a mission to measure the progress achieved in the year after the signing of the Joint Communiqué between the Secretary-General and the Sudanese Government. The Joint Implementation Mechanism (JIM) visit to West Darfur is scheduled to take place on 15 and 16 June.

Security incidents of the past weekend included attacks on humanitarian and commercial trucks, a tribal militia attack on a village and an alleged rape of four girls.