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UN Humanitarian Chief Flees Darfur Refugee Camp


The United Nations' humanitarian chief Monday was forced to flee a displaced person's camp in Sudan's Darfur region when a demonstration turned violent.

Thousands of protesters in South Darfur's Kalma Camp were calling for international troops to be stationed in the war-torn area to protect people against attacks.

The U.N.'s special envoy for humanitarian affairs, Jan Egeland, and a group of aid workers were visiting the camp at the time of the demonstration.

During the protest, a rumor spread that a local aid worker in Egeland's group was associated with the janjaweed, an Arab militia many say is backed by the Sudanese government, and is responsible for scores of human rights abuses.

Protesters then attacked a U.N. vehicle with sticks and stones. In the process, a Sudanese employee of the British aid agency Oxfam was beaten and injured in the attack.

Egeland and his group fled to Nyala, a town about 15 kilometers away from the camp.

The humanitarian chief later told reporters that, after he and his group had left, the crowd attacked an African Union police station in the camp, killing a translator.

Kalma is one of Darfur's largest camps for internally displaced people, with a population of about 100,000.

Similar tensions were reported in other camps across the volatile region, following last week's signing of a peace agreement between rebels and the Sudanese government.

Many displaced people are reportedly unhappy with the deal, saying that it did not go far enough to end the three-year-old conflict, which has killed hundreds-of-thousands of people and displaced more that two million.

The international community is calling for a U.N. mission to take over from the seven-thousand African Union peacekeepers stationed in Darfur. The Sudanese government has said it might consider the move once a peace deal has been signed.

The United States has described the violence in Darfur as genocide.

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