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Published:May 3rd, 2006 05:40 EST
UN Agency seeks protection for Refugees of Sudan

UN Agency seeks protection for Refugees of Sudan

By Garrett Godwin

Reports by Janjaweed militia from Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region include talks of worries about the rise of several attacks in Southeast Asia.  Today, the United Nations agency requests added security around camps that are running 200,000 Sudanese who have went there.

24 hours ago, locals describe the group of 150 men as Janjaweed, a pro-government militia accused of the worst violence in the Darfur conflict.  That group surrounded Chadian villages near the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camp of Goz Amir and declared war on them, leading to four murdered and five injured.  They also stole an estimation of 1,000 head of cattle.

UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis just recently talked to a news briefing in Geneva. 

"Local Chadian residents throughout the region", she said, "are now telling our staff on the ground that they are very frightened, and that if humanitarian agencies were ever forced to withdraw from the area, they too would have to move in search of a safer haven."

Pagonis continues. 

"Despite the presence of about 18 Chadian gendarmes around each refugee camp in eastern Chad, there is a need to further increase security in the region.  The growing number of attacks near Goz Amiz camp is a matter of grave concern to UNHCR."

The three-year battle between the Sudanese government, pro-government militias, and rebels in Darfur has led to more than 200,000 refugees into Chad where they are sheltered into a dozen camps, 17,700 of them at Goz Amir.  In addition, 46 thousand refugees from the northern part of the Central African Republic are also in southern Chad.

However, the good news is that UNHCR has stated that the first convoy of 160 Sudanese in Uganda left for home.  It is a part of what is setting out to be a major effort to send back 350,000 Sudanese who have gone to neighboring countries from the long civil war that ended in January of last year, between the Government and rebels in the country's south.

But until the season of rain starts next month, when roads are blocked, UNHCR are going to assist in returning home 160 refugees per day.  Right now, 27 thousand of the 174 thousand Sudanese refugees in Uganda are registered to be sent home. 

There is also an estimate of 4 million internally in South Sudan itself.

Source: UN News Centre

For more information, go to http://www.un.org/news