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DARFUR: UN-AFRICAN UNION PEACEKEEPERS STEP IN AFTER SHOOTING AT CAMP FOR DISPLACED

By UN

26 July - The joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur has intervened in one of the world's largest camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) to resolve tensions after shooting broke out on Saturday night amid friction over the current state of the peace process.

Sporadic shooting from gunmen began just after midnight in the Kalma camp in South Darfur state, which is home to more than 100,000 IDPs, according to a press release from the mission, known as UNAMID.

The gunmen identified themselves as members of the Abdul Wahid faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), one of numerous rebel groups that have been fighting Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen in Sudan's Darfur region since 2003.

UNAMID reported today that tensions have been rising in Kalma since the latest round of peace talks between the Government and rebels wrapped up last week in Doha, Qatar, with some IDPs at the camp saying they were not fully represented.

An estimated 250 representatives of Darfurian civil society attended the Doha negotiations, including 60 people on behalf of IDPs and refugees, with all envoys elected after months of deliberation, community gatherings and training workshops.

No fatalities were reported in the overnight shooting but one person sustained a gunshot injury and two suspects have been arrested over the attempted assault of a sheikh. Five other sheikhs have sought refuge at a nearby UNAMID site.

The mission reported that it is now negotiating with Kalma's leaders to avert an escalation of the violence, while peacekeepers have stepped up their patrols in and around the camp.

As many as 2.7 million Darfurians live as IDPs or as refugees in neighbouring countries as a result of the conflict in the western region of Sudan. An estimated 300,000 others have died over the past seven years.


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