Action. Reuters' Opheera McDoom report
just in, 13:44 GMT - excerpt:
The African Union's peace monitoring force in Darfur has ordered all representatives of rebel groups who did not sign a May peace deal to leave its camps, officials said on Wednesday.
"The AU have ordered us to leave their camps within 24 hours from this morning," Hamad Hassan Hamad of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) told Reuters.
"This includes all those who did not sign the peace deal, the JEM and the Abdel Wahed faction," said Hamad, who was a JEM representative at the AU base in el-Geneina town in West Darfur state.
One AU official confirmed the decision, which had been requested by the government in Khartoum, but did not give further details. The government says those who did not sign the agreement in May are outlaws.
Non-signatories, including the JEM, formed a new alliance called the National Redemption Front (NRF) and renewed hostilities with the government, which calls them "terrorists."
They say they now control large areas of North Darfur, although this has not been independently verified.
Eleven aid workers have been killed since the deal was signed, more than during the entire three-year conflict.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said on Wednesday that they could not distribute food to 470,000 people in need in Darfur in July, a big increase from the previous month. It added that high malnutrition rates have been reported in recent months.
"The safety of staff is crucial and we take great precautions to avoid dangerous situations," Kenro Oshidari, the head of WFP in Sudan, told reporters in Khartoum. "It would be a disaster for the people of Darfur if security deteriorated to the point where we were unable to deliver more widely."