Aid workers flee renewed fighting in Sudan's Darfur region
British lawmakers urge UN action against Khartoum
KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Troops and rebels battled yesterday in a resurgence of violence in Sudan's war-shattered Darfur province that has forced the evacuation of more than 100 aid workers, the UN said. Meanwhile, pressure built for stronger UN sanctions against the government.
African peacekeepers came under fire and a UN helicopter crash killed a Sudanese humanitarian worker during the evacuations Wednesday, prompted by fighting that erupted two days earlier when rebels attacked the government garrison town of Golo.
In a report titled ''Darfur: The Killing Continues," British legislators yesterday accused Sudan's government of blocking the delivery of essential military equipment to undermanned and ill-equipped African peacekeepers who, they said, are unable to defend Darfurians properly.
''The overriding priority for the international community must be to end the bloodshed," the legislators said in the report.
The legislators urged the United Nations to impose ''credible sanctions" on Sudan and give a UN mandate to the 7,000 African Union troops in Darfur. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Tony Blair said ''the international community is failing people in Darfur."
The top UN official in Sudan, Jan Pronk, told a German newspaper he expects the United Nations will deploy a peacekeeping force in the Darfur region by early 2007. The African Union has accepted the need to transform its 7,000-strong peacekeeping force in Darfur into a UN force.
An estimated 180,000 people have died, mainly of hunger and disease, and some 2 million have been displaced since rebels from Darfur's ethnic African population revolted three years ago, accusing the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum of discrimination and decades of neglect.
The government is widely alleged to have unleashed Arab militias, called Janjaweed, who carried out sweeping atrocities against ethnic African villagers. President Omar el-Bashir denies his government supports the Janjaweed.