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Darfur Insecurity Prevents Aid Workers From Reaching Thousands of Displaced

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says violence in western Sudan’s Darfur region is intensifying. And he says there’s evidence of war crimes “on a large and systematic scale.”

He accuses the Khartoum government of failing to stop the killings, rapes and burning of villages. He also called on the government to stop the forced relocation of displaced people. Today, the Security Council will receive a report on Darfur, which recommends “prompt action” to get the warring parties to negotiate a peace deal.

The deteriorating security situation in Darfur continues to affect humanitarian operations. Barry Came is a spokesman for the World Food Program. From Khartoum, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the situation in Darfur, following this week’s raid by government forces on the Al-Jeer Sureaf camp in South Darfur.

He says, “In that particular area, which is just three camps around the capital city of Nyala, things have settled down. The one camp, Al-Jeer Sureaf, that one’s deserted. The ones who were moved out are now in a camp run by the Saudi Arabian Red Crescent. But there’s still a lot of apprehension in the air and tension in the air. The internally displaced fear that this may be the first step to returning to their villages. The government strenuously denies this.”

Elsewhere in Darfur, he says, “Beyond Nyala, the security situation is kind of steadily running down hill.” The WFP spokesman says the increasing insecurity is reducing the number of people that can receive aid. In September, the WFP supplied 1.3 million people. That number is expected to drop by 200,000 because aid workers can no longer travel to remote areas. It’s too dangerous. He says the violence involves all the warring parties.

Mr. Came says African Union troops can be seen in some areas, but their numbers are few. He says he is not able to estimate how many troops would be needed to secure food lines in a region the size of the US state of Texas.

Click above link to listen to interview