Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:56AM
Internally displaced Sudanese at the Zam Zam refugee camp in North Darfur. (File photo)
Internally displaced Sudanese at the Zam Zam refugee camp in North Darfur. (File photo)

The United Nations and African Union (AU) have warned about the worsening violence in Sudan's western Darfur region, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people this year in the territory.

Joseph Mutaboba, deputy head of the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), and Ali Al-Za'tari, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, said in a joint statement issued on Thursday that it had become tremendously hard to deliver aid to the people of Darfur.

In February, added the statement, a wave of violence in the remote, conflict-torn territory affected tens of thousands of people.

“Since the beginning of 2014, more than 215,000 people in Darfur have been displaced from their homes. Many people in Darfur have no choice but to flee their homes in fear,” they noted.

The officials further urged the Sudanese government, all actors and parties involved in the conflict, as well as the international community to take “robust measures to ensure the protection of civilians and unimpeded access of aid workers in Darfur.”

According to reports, more than 400,000 people were displaced by the conflict last year.

Earlier in March, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay raised concerns over the recent upsurge in violence in the region, criticizing the disproportionate use of force by armed groups in areas in South Darfur that are not military targets. She also called for an immediate halt to hostilities against unarmed civilians.

Darfur has been the scene of bloodshed since 2003 when rebels took up arms against the Khartoum government.

Sudan accuses South Sudan, which seceded from the Republic of Sudan in July 2011, of supporting anti-government rebels operating in the Darfur region and the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.