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UN Demands Access to Darfur Camp


The United Nations humanitarian chief is demanding Sudanese authorities allow aid agencies into a camp in Darfur that has been closed off to aid workers for nearly two weeks.

John Holmes said Friday he is concerned for the welfare of more than 80,000 displaced people living at Kalma camp who have not been able to receive food and other relief supplies for 13 days.

He said if access for aid workers is not quickly restored, the situation at the camp could deteriorate rapidly.

Sudanese authorities have prevented aid workers from entering the camp in South Darfur following violence there earlier this month that left at least six people dead.

The camp is a stronghold of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army, which is not participating in peace talks with the government.

Reports indicate the violence erupted between supporters of rebel factions participating in the peace process and those of the SLA.

The government is demanding the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur hand over six camp leaders who sought refuge with the peacekeepers during the violence.

The government says the six are criminals who instigated the violence.

But the U.N. mission says it cannot hand them over unless the government shows proof of criminal charges and can assure a fair trial.

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.

Some information for this report provided by AP.

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