The United Nations and other aid agencies today began providing vital humanitarian assistance to thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) sheltered outside the UN-African Union mission`s sites in Darfur now that restrictions have been lifted on all air and road movements to areas of recent fighting.
The joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) escorted an eight-truck aid convoy to Khor Abeche, which is located 80 kilometres north-east of the South Darfur capital of Nyala and was the scene of recent clashes between Sudanese Government forces and rebels.
Some 19 tons of food was delivered by air yesterday to over 10,000 IDPs around UNAMID`s team site there, the mission reported in an update.
Meanwhile, a convoy carrying fuel and food for the estimated 5,000 new IDPs in Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur, departed from the state capital of El Fasher earlier today.
Similar missions to Shaeria, Jaghara and Negaha by UNAMID and humanitarian actors are planned for the coming days.
On Saturday, the Joint AU-UN Special Representative in Darfur, Ibrahim Gambari, had voiced his deep concern over reports of continued fighting on the ground, including in Khor Abeche, and rising tensions in Shangil Tobaya and other areas.
He insisted that the parties stop fighting immediately and provide their full cooperation to the Joint Chief Mediator for the Darfur peace process, Djibril BassolÃ©, in agreeing to a cessation of hostilities as soon as possible, and called on any party that may be providing support to the rebel movements to refrain from doing so.
At least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes as a result of the fighting that has ravaged Darfur over the past seven years.