United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has condemned a reported move by Sudan to force people out of refugee camps in the troubled Darfur region.

Mr. Annan issued a statement late Tuesday criticizing the forced move, which was reported earlier in the day. Humanitarian groups said Sudanese government troops on Tuesday forced hundreds of people out of a camp near the town of Nyala in South Darfur.

Mr. Annan urged the government to return the refugees to the camps with help from international aid agencies working in Darfur. And he noted his concern about what he called the "overall deterioration" of the situation in the area.

The U.S. State Department also condemned the forced move.

Darfur villagers have lived in the refugee camps for more than a year, fearing attacks from pro-government militias.