Sudan: UN says banditry, looting continues in Darfur

Looting and banditry, including attacks by armed groups, continued to be reported in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan, the United Nations said today.

In an update on the situation in wider Sudan and the Darfur region, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) listed a number of incidents including a reported attack in eastern Sudan that was repelled by the Sudanese army. UN commercially rented trucks carrying food were in the area during the incident.

Due to the continued violence, UNMIS said that non-governmental organizations still continued to face difficulties in certain areas.

Earlier this month mission chief Jan Pronk called for an immediate end to violence in Darfur and expressed his concern that rebel factions were fighting in the war-torn region even as the African Union (AU) tried to keep upcoming peace negotiations on track.

Fighting in Darfur flared in early 2003 after rebels took up arms, partly in protest over the distribution of resources. Militias such as the Janjaweed joined in the battle against them, terrorizing the population. The UN says some 180,000 people have died as a result of the conflict, while another 1.8 million have been forced from their homes, including about 200,000 who fled across the border to neighbouring Chad.