Khartoum, Sudan – The UN has commended recent reconciliatory moves between two sub-tribal groups fighting over traditional gold mining rights, creating a peaceful atmosphere for the delivery of much needed humanitarian assistance to the needy in Darfur.
In a statement issued here Wednesday, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mr. Ali Al-Za’tari, welcomed what he described as 'the signs of progress' following reconciliation meetings between the Northern Reizegat and Beni Hussein tribes in Saraf Omrah, North Darfur, brokered by state authorities.
The statement said following the peaceful atmosphere, roads into El Sireaf have been re-opened for the first time since 21 February, enabling food, commerce and urgently needed supplies to reach the area.
“While we are ready to continue providing assistance to people affected by the recent conflict, the priority must be to prevent further fighting and to promote reconciliation between the two tribes,' Mr. Al-Za’tari said, adding that “In this regard, I greatly welcome the recent reconciliation efforts led by state authorities'.
Over 100,000 people are estimated to have been displaced or severely affected by the fighting between the Northern Reizegat and the Beni Hussein tribes that began in early January, following a dispute in the Jebel Amir gold mining area.
The statement said UN agencies had delivered over 700 metric tons of assistance to people displaced to El Sireaf, Garrat Az Zawia, Saraf Omra, Kebkabiya and other locations in North Darfur.
The deliveries have been facilitated by the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which has provided armed escorts to protect humanitarian road convoys.
Mr. Al-Za’tari said he welcomed the close cooperation between humanitarian organizations, Government authorities and UNAMID in addressing the needs of people affected by the Jebel Amir crisis.
The statement pointed out that the UNAMID had played a key role in evacuating wounded civilians and in delivering relief supplies by helicopter when roads were closed.
UNAMID is currently in the process of establishing a temporary operating base in El Sireaf to assist local authorities in ensuring the protection of civilians and delivery of humanitarian assistance with ease and speed.