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UN urges calm in Sudanese refugee camp stand-off

سودانيزاونلاين.كوم
sudaneseonline.com
5/25/2005 2:30pm

KHARTOUM, Sudan, May 25, 2005 (AP) -- The U.N. pleaded for calm Wednesday after thousands of riot police surrounded a camp for the displaced to make arrests in connection with deadly clashes there last week.
Jan Pronk, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special representative to Sudan , called on "authorities and representatives of the people living there to show maximum restraint in handling the situation and to avert loss of life. Too many people have been killed."

Last week, clashes between police and residents resisting being moved from the camp just outside the capital left 14 policemen and three civilians dead, according to officials. Pronk said the U.N. had received conflicting accounts of the casualties.

Police returned Tuesday and arrested 50 residents of the camp, home to Sudanese who have fled the country's war zones in the south and west. State Minister of Interior Ahmed Mohamed Haroon told reporters Tuesday that the government would continue with plans to relocate residents from the camp as part of a wider government campaign to reform land use around the capital.

The U.N. has criticized the government's relocation tactics. Wednesday, Pronk pressed the government to respect the human rights of the displaced.

Also Wednesday, Pronk discussed the upcoming visit of his boss.

Annan's second trip to Sudan in a year starts Friday, the day after he co-chairs a conference in neighboring Ethiopia to raise funds for the African Union peacekeeping effort in Sudan 's western region of Darfur.

During his three-day trip, Annan will meet with Sudanese government officials in Khartoum and visit Darfur, scene of one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, and southern Sudan , calm now after a generation of civil war.

Pronk said Annan would find some improvements in conditions since his visit last June because humanitarian agencies were finding it easier to work in some areas. Fighting and government resistance to outsiders had hampered humanitarian work in the past.

"The situation is of course far from ideal but there is improvement due to humanitarian assistance, due to political activities, and cooperation with the government," Pronk said.

The crisis in Darfur erupted when rebels took up arms against what they saw as years of state neglect and discrimination against Sudanese of African origin. The government is accused of responding with a counterinsurgency campaign, backing ethnic Arab militia known as Janjaweed in wide-scale abuses against ethnic Africans.

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