Clashes in Sudan’s Darfur Force 103,000 to Flee Homes, UN Says

Fighting between Sudanese government forces and rebels in a mountainous area of Darfur has forced more than 102,700 people to flee their homes since mid-January, the United Nations said.

Violence in Jebel Marra, which straddles three states in the western Sudanese region, has spurred the majority to seek shelter in North Darfur, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Thursday in an e-mailed bulletin.

There are unconfirmed reports that as many as 70,000 other people fled to Central Darfur, which the UN said can’t be verified because of a lack of access. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last week expressed concern over the violence and urged warring parties to negotiate.

Rebels in Darfur took up arms in 2003, accusing President Umar al-Bashir’s government of neglecting the region. The International Criminal Court has indicted al-Bashir for alleged war crimes in the area. The conflict has led to the deaths of as many as 300,000 people, mainly due to illness and starvation, with about 2.5 million people currently displaced, according to UN estimates.

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