Up to 73 000 civilians flee fighting in Sudan's Darfur: UN

As many as 73 000 civilians have fled the Marra mountains in the heart of Sudan’s Darfur region since the army launched an offensive against rebels on January 15, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
The world body said the displacement was the largest in the district in a decade and marked a major flare-up in the conflict which has seen ethnic minority rebels fighting government troops and militia allies since 2003.
“The number of civilians displaced as a result of the recent conflict in Darfur’s Jebel Marra area has increased from 38 000 to 73 000, according to the latest estimates,” the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement.
The Marra mountains, which rise to more than 3 000m and are one of Darfur’s most fertile areas, are controlled by rebels of Abdulwahid Nur’s faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA-AW).
Many of those fleeing – most of them women and children – have taken refuge at a base at Sortoni run by peacekeepers of the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
“The recent increase is largely due to a massive influx of some 30 000 civilians in Sortoni,” OCHA said.
The camp now houses a total of 53 562 displaced civilians, the UN said.

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