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United Nations Urges More Security for Displaced at Sudan Camp
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Nov 26, 2008 - 7:18:11 AM

United Nations Urges More Security for Displaced at Sudan Camp


By Heba Aly

Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- A camp for Sudanese people displaced by fighting in the western Darfur region needs more protection, the United Nations’ humanitarian chief said.

At least 33 civilians died and 108 were wounded at the Kalma camp in August when government security forces opened fire on its occupants. Sudan’s government claimed police were responding to fire from inside the camp, which houses more than 80,000 people. The UN-led peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as Unamid, has since increased its presence in the area.

“Unamid police are now patrolling the camp on a round the clock basis, which has helped people to feel safer,” John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said in a statement e-mailed after he visited the camp. “But we still need to do more, not least to ensure women can feel safe as they move in and out of the camp.”

Holmes is on a six-day tour of Sudan that began yesterday in Darfur. At least 300,000 people are estimated to have died and about 3 million forced to flee their homes in the region since 2003, when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government complaining of marginalization.

Unamid has long complained that it is short of the troops and equipment -- especially military helicopters -- required to carry out its duties. Almost a year after it began deploying, less than half the mandated 26,000 soldiers, police and staff are on the ground.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heba Aly in Khartoum via Johannesburg at [email protected].

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