SUDAN WATCH: Darfur situation very grim and getting worse over last six weeks says UN mission in Sudan

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Darfur situation very grim and getting worse over last six weeks says UN mission in Sudan

Chair of 53-nation Afiran Union (AU) block, Alpha Oumar Konare, said Saturday he was "deeply saddened" by Friday's attack on AU peacekeepers in West Darfur, close to border with Chad. Extracts from IRIN at ReliefWeb 9 Jan 2006:

One AU peacekeeper killed, ten others injured

A 30-strong Senegalese force was traveling from the town of Tine to their base in Kulbus in West Darfur, when they were ambushed, the AU said in the statement.

The attack is the second ambush against Senegalese forces since November, when four Senegalese soldiers were wounded, two seriously.

AU forces are increasingly targeted by combatants in Darfur, suffering their first casualties in October when three Nigerian soldiers were killed in another ambush.

The AU said they did not know who was behind the attack against them.

UN withdraws non-essential personnel from W Darfur

On Thursday, the UN decided to withdraw all but its essential personnel from West Darfur State, due to a build-up of armed groups on either side of the border with neigbouring Chad.

"The situation is very grim," George Somerwill, chief of public information of the UN mission in Sudan (UNMIS), said. "It has been getting worse over the last six weeks or so."

AU running out of cash for Darfur mission

Last month the AU warned they were running out of cash for the mission and appealed to the international community for more support for its 7,700 peacekeepers.

The force needs US $465 million a year to operate, but so far they only received $330 million.

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