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Amnesty Says Darfuris Face Insecurity in Camps Full of Weapons


A report by Amnesty International describes the worsening security situation for internally displaced people in Darfur. It says a generation of Darfuris is growing up in extreme fear and insecurity in camps awash with weapons. Tendai Maphosa has more in this report for VOA from London.

The report called Displaced in Darfur paints a bleak picture of a worsening security situation where the displaced are caught between an indifferent Sudanese government and armed rebels inside the camps.

Three weeks after the African Union/United Nations peacekeeping force took over from a small contingent of African Union peacekeepers, only 9,000 out of a total 2,600 peacekeepers are in place.

Amnesty's Liz Hodgkin tells VOA unless Sudan's government allows a speedy deployment of the force it will suffer the same fate as its predecessor.

"The Sudan government has been making enormous difficulties about the personnel who should be coming to the armed force," said Hodgkin. "They have been insisting on only African troops and so they have been rejecting a lot of those specialized units which are absolutely necessary to give the force mobility. They have also been trying to impose a curfew to stop the forces going by night."

The report says the camps are awash with weapons. It blames armed groups for that and says the militias are recuiting fighters - including young children in the displaced camps - into their ranks.

It also says Khartoum has continued aerial and ground attacks in Darfur without regard for the safety of civilians. The report accuses the government of continuing to arm the Arab Janjawid militia who are accused of terrorizing ethnic African Darfuris.

Displaced women, the report says, face a constant risk of rape when they venture outside the camps to find firewood or food. Most victims accuse the Janjawid, but there are also reports of rape committed by members the Sudanese army, the police and armed opposition groups. Women also say they are sometimes raped by displaced men inside the camps.

Faced with a rebellion in Darfur in 2003, the Sudanese government armed militias that forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

More than 2.3 million people are said to be internally displaced, with the majority living in more than 65 camps around Darfur.

The Amnesty report says more than 90,000 people have been killed as a result of the conflict. Another 200,000 are thought to have died from conflict-related causes.