September 28, 2005

Rising Darfur violence threatens aid effort: UN

GENEVA (Reuters) - Violence is rising sharply again in
Sudan's Darfur and could force the United Nations to halt aid
to over two million desperate people, the U.N.'s humanitarian
chief warned on Wednesday.

All parties to the Darfur conflict -- the Khartoum
government, rebels, Arab militias -- were at fault, said U.N.
Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland.

He also criticized the international community for easing
pressure for an end to the violence.

"In the last few days we have seen colleagues being
harassed, attacked, robbed or abducted every day. It cannot
continue," Egeland told journalists.

"If it (the violence) continues to escalate, we may not be
able to sustain our operations for 2.5 million people requiring
life-saving assistance," he said, adding: "In Darfur, it (aid
distribution) could all end tomorrow. It is as serious as

Rebels took up arms over what they saw as Khartoum's
preferential treatment of Arab tribes in Darfur and neglect of
non-Arabs. They accuse the government of backing militias that
have driven non-Arabs from their villages.

Tens of thousands have been killed and more than two
million people driven from their homes into refugee camps,
mostly inside Darfur, the western Sudan region the size of

Little progress has been made in peace talks in the
Nigerian capital, Abuja, being brokered by the African Union.

Although there were now more than 5,000 African Union
troops in Darfur, this was less than a third of the number
needed to monitor a supposed ceasefire, Egeland said.

"Civilians are being killed and raped every day across
Darfur with impunity. Truck drivers are refusing to deliver
food," he said.