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UN Humanitarian Chief: Darfur Becoming More Dangerous
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Nov 30, 2008 - 9:07:20 AM

UN Humanitarian Chief: Darfur Becoming More Dangerous

Sunday November 30th, 2008 / 17h15
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AFP)--Sudan's war-torn Darfur is becoming ever more dangerous, the top U.N. humanitarian official said Sunday, calling for rapid progress towards a political settlement after a government ceasefire.
"The longer this conflict goes on, the more dangerous it becomes in terms of the ability to return to normality as it was before," said John Holmes, U.N. emergency relief co-ordinator, while wrapping up a six-day visit to Sudan.
The Darfur conflict began in February 2003 when two rebel groups rose up against the Arab-led Sudanese government in the western part of the country.
Since then, the conflict has mushroomed into a hugely complex web of violence fought between a myriad of groups and marred increasingly by banditry.
U.N. officials say 4.7 million people in Darfur receive humanitarian aid, out of a population of 6 million, and that 2.7 million internally displaced people had been registered in settlements or camps by last month.
"The situation has not changed fundamentally in five years, except for its gradual deterioration in camps still there five years later," said Holmes.
"The environment becomes ever more politicized and more difficult to operate in, and what is happening there in the camps and elsewhere becomes more difficult to unravel.
"Above all, what we need to see in Darfur is a rapid political progress, a rapid political settlement... only that will enable the kind of progress we want to make in terms of development in Darfur."
On Nov. 12, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir called a unilateral ceasefire in Darfur, although violence has continued on the ground.
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