UNAMID airlifts North Darfur wounded, strengthens presence in area

El Fasher, 25 February 2013 - On 24 February 2013 in North Darfur, the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) airlifted 37 wounded civilians, including one woman and two children, from the El Sereif locality to El Fasher for medical treatment. In addition, the Mission transported 2,700 kilograms of medical and other supplies to the victims of El Sereif as part of its ongoing efforts to address the needs of civilians affected in the North Darfur tribal clashes.

On 21 February, UNAMID received information about a resumption of fighting between the Beni Hussein and Abbala tribes in the Aji Heir area, approximately 10 kilometres west of El Sereif. The fighting reached the vicinity of the El Sereif town on 23 February. UNAMID immediately activated its protection of civilians plan to respond to the reports of violence by deploying peacekeepers to establish a temporary operating base to secure the area and to facilitate the work of humanitarian organizations.

“I call for the immediate end to the tribal clashes in North Darfur,” said Mohamed Yonis, UNAMID’s Officer in Charge. “There is no solution to this conflict other than one that is driven by good-faith efforts toward reconciliation.”

The current humanitarian situation in the El Sereif locality and in North Darfur follows from an outbreak of violence that took place on 5 January 2013 between the Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes in the Jebel Amir area of North Darfur, resulting in a mass displacement of more than 100,000 people.

“My hope is that, in the upcoming weeks, the tensions in the area will ease and the reconciliation process will resume,” said Mr. Yonis. “UNAMID is committed to a protection presence in the area and will continue to provide full support to the local mediation process.”

The Mission has been supporting reconciliation initiatives between the two sides and conducting security escorts to facilitate humanitarian access, and has significantly increased the number of daily patrols in North Darfur areas most affected by the violence.