2011-03-29 12:08:26

Darfur: fighting, rights abuses continue

Fighting in North Darfur between Sudanese government forces and rebels has displaced scores of thousands of people. UN human rights experts visited five villages in the area, and found three of them to be completely deserted.

Foli Somado-Hemazro of the Human Rights Unit of the joint United Nations-African Union mission in Darfur was part of the team that visited the villages.

"We visited five villages: Arosha, Tangara, Hashaba, Fulla and Runyu. On the five villages, three were totally deserted and no one was to be found. The deserted villages were Tangara, Runyu and Fulla but we found people in two villages, which were Arosha and Hashaba."

Most of the villagers have gone to seek refuge in camps for the displaced – camps where people driven to them often merely exchange one set of threats for another. Fighting broke out in 2003 in the Darfur region, between government forces allied with local militia called Janjaweed, on one side, and regional rebels on the other.

The fighting has continued with periods of lull followed by renewed and sometimes sustained energy, despite an international peacekeeping presence. More than a quarter million people have perished during the course of the 8 years of violence, while 2 and a half million people have been driven from their homes and forced into camps.

Listen to Chris Altieri's report: RealAudioMP3

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