Monday, March 16, 2009

Sudan: Plight of Darfur's displaced worse than ever

UN Humanitarian News Service (IRIN East Africa)
21 October 2008

TAWILA - As Sudan lobbies the international community for support in its fight to ward off looming charges of genocide against its president, arguing they would endanger the "great strides" the government is making towards peace, people displaced by more than five years of fighting in Darfur tell a different story.

"Since 2004 until today, there has been no resolution. The problems have only gotten worse," said a sheikh at a camp for displaced people in Tawila, 50km west of El-Fasher, state capital of North Darfur. At the beginning of the conflict, he told IRIN, attacks – if intense – were few and far between. "But now, weekly, there is a problem here. Weekly, janjaweed [government-sponsored militias], weapons, rape, looting."

The UN/African Union hybrid peacekeeping mission's base in Tawila is a prime example. A metre-wide gap in its barbed razor wire is a constant reminder of the day in May when the ruined town and the nearby camp that houses most of Tawila’s residents came under attack. Desperate residents forced their way onto the base's buffer zone, seeking the UN's protection.

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