Renewed fighting reported in Darfour

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

CAIRO Heavy fighting has been reported in the rebel-torn Sudanese province of Darfour.

The United Nations mission in Sudan continued to report fighting in parts of the western Sudanese province. The mission said heavy fighting took place in a government-controlled area southwest of Nyala in southern Darfour as well as shooting at a camp that housed displaced persons at Kalma on Dec. 2.

The fighting has hampered relief efforts in Darfour, Middle East Newsline reported. UN officials said the north Geneina district in western Darfour has been declared a "no go" area for UN staff. They said the decision was taken following an ambush on police officers on Dec. 1.

The regime-backed Janjaweed was said to have participated in these attacks. The UN said there were no reports of arrests of Janjaweed fighters in November.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also reported numerous cases of sexual violence and rape in all three of the regions of Darfour. The office also reported a military attack on the village of Masteri in western Darfour, which included the firing of 18 mortars into that locality.

The UN said Darfour refugees continue to distrust and fear Sudanese police. Officials said police have refused to record complaints of attacks against refugees.

The UN, however, has ruled out sanctions against Sudan. In the last two resolutions, the Security Council discussed "measures" rather than "sanctions" against Sudan.

"China is not going to impose sanctions, not going to be a party to that," U.S. ambassador to the UN John Danforth said. "Even if they were approved would sanctions work? The U.S. unilateral sanctions have certainly not influenced the behavior of Sudan."

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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