Khartoum, 25 March 2013 – On 24 March, at around 18:20 hours, a convoy of three commercial buses carrying 31 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and escorted by UNAMID peacekeepers was stopped by a large unidentified armed group in military uniforms and seven jeep mounted guns between the Arga crossing point and Kass locality, a border area between Central Darfur State and South Darfur State. Despite UNAMID opposition, the armed group forced the IDPs to an unknown location.
UNAMID has been receiving conflicting reports of the situation of the IDPs. According to some sources, the IDPs were released. However, no official sources from the Government of Sudan have confirmed their release. The Mission, which peacekeepers and assets are safe, has been unable to contact the IDPs to independently verify these reports.
The Mission is sparing no effort to ascertain the current situation of the IDPs, who were on their way from Zalingei town, Central Darfur State, to Nyala to attend the IDPs and Refugees’ Conference.
At the request of the Darfur Regional Authority, UNAMID was escorting the IDPs as part of it support to this important event, that is being held on 25 and 26 March 2013.
UNAMID condemns this incident and stands ready to escort the IDPs to Nyala Conference, and to provide any other assistance.