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UNAMID: Violence spreads in Sudan’s Darfur

Darfur has seen a surge in unrest, generally between Arab militias, over the past year

Published: Updated:

Violence has spread in Sudan’s Darfur region, international peacekeepers said on Sunday, reporting a town looted and thousands more displaced on top of an estimated 40,000 who were uprooted last week.

It is the third major outbreak of unrest in different parts of Darfur, an area about the size of France, in the past several days.

The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said in a statement that thousands have been displaced from the town of Saraf Omra, about 100 kilometers east of al-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state.

They have sought safety around a UNAMID base in the area.

“The mission is providing protection and water to those affected, as well as medical treatment for more than 30 wounded individuals,” it said.

“Patrols by the mission have observed looting around the town and the destruction of the local marketplace,” after what it called “inter-communal” violence.

Surge in unrest

Darfur has seen a surge in unrest, generally between Arab militias, over the past year.

“The incident in Saraf Omra comes in the wake of other recent episodes of violence in Darfur,” UNAMID said, referring to unrest in the Taweisha and El Lait areas of North Darfur, and other violence in South Darfur.

Residents of the al-Lait area last week reported a heavy presence of rebel troops from the Sudan Liberation Army’s Minni Minnawi faction.

In South Darfur, aid groups said around 40,000 people had fled their homes escaping unrest linked to what an analyst described as a type of mercenary force, comprised of 6,000 men.

Almost two million people have already been displaced in Darfur, where an 11-year-old rebellion has been compounded by worsening inter-communal violence and criminality.