United Nations Sends Team to Subdue Violence at Darfur Camp
By Heba Aly
Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The United Nations sent a team of armed peacekeepers to a camp for people displaced by war in Sudan’s western Darfur region to calm violence between residents and militia members.
A “quarrel” erupted on Dec. 1 between two so-called Janjaweed militiamen armed with a rifle and residents of the Hassa Hissa camp near the western Darfur town of Zalingei, the UN-led mission, known as Unamid, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. One camp resident was injured, a militiaman was severely beaten and later died, while the surviving militiaman was taken into police custody, Unamid said.
“As a result of the incident, about 30 armed Janjaweed marched toward the camp today, shooting sporadically in the air,” Unamid said. The militia set ablaze five water pumps supplying the camp. Another camp resident received a minor injury during the second incident.
Government-allied militia have been accused of some of the worst crimes in Darfur, where 300,000 are estimated to have died and close to 3 million others forced to flee their homes. Fighting in Darfur intensified in 2003 when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government, complaining of marginalization.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, or ICC, has accused Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir of committing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. Under the pretext of counterinsurgency, Bashir armed militias that subsequently burned villages, raped women and killed civilians, the prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, alleged in his summary to the court.
Sudan’s government has said it will take unspecified legal steps to fight al-Bashir’s possible indictment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Heba Aly in Khartoum via Johannesburg at [email protected]. Last Updated: December 3, 2008 03:46 EST