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23 February 2009

Gunmen shot dead two workers for a French aid group in an ambush in the Sudanese region of south Darfur, peacekeepers said on Monday. The two Sudanese staff from Aide Medicale Internationale were attacked on Saturday evening as they drove in a remote area where fighting has surged between government forces and rebels. Investigations suggested the gunmen, who rode camels and horses, were bandits, a spokesman for the joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force said. But the killings took place at a time of growing fears of targeted attacks on foreign aid groups in the war-torn region.


19 February 2009

The United Nations said on Thursday it was looking into a media allegation it had withdrawn a security escort for actor George Clooney, a U.N. "messenger of peace," as he visited a lawless area of Chad. U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas cast doubt on the report, saying the U.N. mission in the West African country had no armed military police and relied on others for armed escorts. In a column published on Thursday, New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, who is traveling with Clooney, linked the alleged U.N. move with nervousness in the region over a possible indictment by the International Criminal Court of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of neighboring Sudan. "We are still trying to ascertain the facts," Montas told a regular news briefing. [...] Montas said the U.N. World Food Program had flown Clooney's party to eastern Chad and enabled it to visit WFP project sites in the area, where hundreds of thousands of refugees from Sudan's violence-torn Darfur region are encamped.


16 February 2009

In one Darfur refugee camp in Chad, thousands of women have learned a whole new way to cook. Instead of relying on the usual wood-fueled fires, families are eating meals cooked by sunlight. Solar cooking could be saving their lives. [...] In the Iridimi camp, as with many other camps, the occupants are mostly women and children, as a large number of Darfur men have been killed. The women are tasked with caring for their own families and for orphans, and that means feeding everyone in their care with supplies distributed by aid organizati ons. Each month, the World Food Program gives each family a month's worth of food and firewood. The food typically lasts the month. The firewood doesn't.


13 February 2009

A woman was the first ex-combatant to be demobilized in this week's historic launch of a UN-backed program, according to a UN press release Thursday. Fatima, a former member of the People's Defense Forces, was first in line when 15 ex-combatants, including four other women, stepped forward on Wednesday in Ed Damazin in Blue Nile State at the start of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) program. [...] During the ceremony, ex-combatants relinquished their weapons and in return received a DDR identification card, cash, non-food items and a coupon for food rations provided by the UN World Food Program.


10 February 2009

More than a dozen soldiers, who fought in the long-running Sudanese civil war, today handed over their weapons at the start of a United Nations-backed demobilization programme aimed at coaxing 180,000 ex-combatants back into civilian life. [...] During the demobilization process in Ed Damazin, ex-combatants from the north and south symbolically relinquished their weapons and in return received a DDR identification card, cash, non-food items and a coupon for food rations provided by the World Food Programme (WFP).


27 January 2009

Thousands of Congolese civilians have fled across the border to South Sudan to escape rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday. About 2,000 left northeastern Congo for the Sudanese village of Lasu last week alone, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said. Thousands more Congolese are already living in South Sudan, having fled their villages for fear of attacks by the rebels Uganda-based rebel group, Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva. The population in South Sudan is unable to support all the refugees, so the World Food Program plans to deliver emergency rations to the area, Redmond said.


5 January 2009

With just 15 days left in office, President Bush announced Monday that he had ordered an immediate airlift to deliver vehicles and equipment to the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan to bolster a struggling international peacekeeping effort there.