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UN: Aid Returns to Darfur IDP Camp

Sudan has allowed humanitarian workers back into a Darfur camp for internally displaced people, after a nearly two-week absence the United Nations said led to dire conditions for the residents.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said Monday he "appreciates" the restoration of access for humanitarian workers.

The forced absence from the southern Darfur camp began with a dispute between the government and the joint-U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission, known as UNAMID, over the status of six camp leaders.

Sudan blamed the camp leaders for violence that killed at least six people.

The camp leaders sought refuge with UNAMID during the clash, and Sudan has demanded the peacekeepers hand them over. UNAMID says it cannot do so unless the government shows proof of criminal charges and can assure a fair trial.

A UNAMID spokesman said earlier Monday that without humanitarian aid, fuel for water pumps had run out and resources at two health clinics were rapidly dwindling. The spokesman said one clinic had also reported more than 60 cases of malnutrition.

The UNAMID spokesman also said two police advisers were abducted in south Darfur on Sunday. The spokesman said Sudan and UNAMID were investigating.

In his statement, Secretary-General Ban called on Sudan's government to protect aid workers and prosecute anyone who attacks them.

Elsewhere in Darfur, U.N. officials said Monday several top U.N. and Red Cross aid workers in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region have been expelled.

The officials said Monday authorities in West Darfur asked the local head of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization and two top officials with the U.N. refugee agency to leave the state.

It was not clear why the aid workers were expelled.

The U.N. also said the top delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross were asked to leave two West Darfur towns, El-Geneina and Zalingei.

However, the ICRC said it recalled the two workers to Khartoum, following "confusion" with authorities over a trip into the field. The organization did not offer more details.

According to the French news agency AFP, Sudan's national government says the expulsions were ordered at the local level. Government officials say they are now discussing the matter with the state officials.

Peacekeepers and foreign aid workers have faced increased hostility in Darfur since last year, when the International Criminal Court indicted Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir for alleged war crimes.

The United Nations says the seven-year conflict in Darfur has killed as many as 300,000 people and displaced 2.7 million. Sudan's government says around 10,000 people have died.