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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 08:17 GMT
Amnesty presses for Darfur action
By Amber Henshaw
BBC News, Nairobi

UN-AU force commander General Martin Luther Agwai (R)
The Sudanese government has placed restrictions on the force
The human rights group Amnesty International is calling on Sudan to stop obstructing the deployment of international peacekeepers in Darfur.

In a report Amnesty said troops needed to get on the ground as quickly as possible to contain a new surge of violence in refugee camps.

Amnesty also asked the international community to ensure peacekeepers had sufficient resources and staff.

It said the situation in Darfur was potentially explosive.

The group said security was deteriorating, most of the camps for displaced people were awash with weapons, and young Darfuris were increasingly angry and frustrated.

'Displaced in Darfur'

Amnesty said people were living in a protection vacuum, adding that the now defunct African Union force sometimes mounted only one patrol a day.

The report - Displaced in Darfur - called on the Sudanese government to stop blocking the deployment of a United Nations-Africa Union mission so peacekeepers could start to contain the growing levels of violence and insecurity.

The joint operation which took over from the African Union on 31 December is supposed to be 26,000-strong but there are only 9,000 personnel on the ground.

Janjaweed militiaman
The Janjaweed mounted militia are widely feared in Darfur

The Sudanese government has refused to allow non-African troops to join the mission and has made a series of demands that have the effect of hampering operations of the force.

The Amnesty report also accused the government of continuing to carry out attacks, and of giving more weapons to Janjaweed fighters - despite commitments to disarm the militias.

It said that armed groups were still recruiting fighters from the camps, including children, and were taking part in hostilities across the region.



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