African Union monitors say Sudanese forces harassed displaced in Darfur UN

Briefing journalists in New York, Fred Eckhard said the AU monitors had reached their conclusions after investigating the violent scenes of 12 August, when a group of IDPs from Kalma camp attacked and killed another IDP, prompting the Sudanese authorities to intervene.Aid workers were not allowed into the camp at Kalma, in South Darfur, for three days after the Sudanese military stepped in, halting the distribution of relief items to the camp’s thousands of residents. Humanitarian access has since resumed.The violence began when IDPs at Kalma attacked Arab IDPs from a neighbouring camp, accusing them of taking part in ethnically motivated attacks against their families. An Arab IDP who worked for the non-governmental organization (NGO) CARE-International was killed.AU monitors are in place in Darfur as a response to more than a year of violent civil strife that has led to what is widely viewed as currently the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. More than 1.2 million people live as IDPs and another 200,000 as refugees in Chad because of attacks by Janjaweed militias and fighting between Sudanese forces and two rebel groups.Meanwhile, the body charged with making sure that Khartoum meets its commitments to restore security to Darfur and disarm the Janjaweed militias holds its fourth meeting tonight.The Joint Implementation Mechanism (JIM), which is co-chaired by Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, will discuss what progress has been made so far by Khartoum. JIM is comprised of Sudanese and UN officials.Mr. Pronk is expected to travel to New York later this month to present his assessment report on Khartoum’s progress to Secretary-General Kofi Annan.In South Darfur, about 6,000 IDPs living in Yara have told UN officials that their village is more secure following the deployment of 94 policemen to the area. Installing extra police in unstable areas was one of the pledges made by the Sudanese authorities.In a separate development, delegates from the Government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – which have been fighting a 21-year civil war in the country’s south – are expected to attend a conference in Nairobi, Kenya, next week about landmines.The proliferation of landmines in the south of Sudan, Africa’s largest country, is one of the issues facing Khartoum and the SPLM as they hold peace talks this year that are expected to finally resolve their conflict. read more