- The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has lashed on the continuing military actions in Northern Darfur saying it threatens civilian lives and derails the already shaky peace efforts.
Mr Ban's strong words, came amid clashes on the outskirts of the city of El-Fasher following fighting earlier this month involving the Sudanese Armed Forces, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Army.
According to a statement issued by his spokesperson, the Secretary-General called on all parties to immediately cease ongoing hostilities and to abide by their obligations under the international law.
The statement said the joint United Nations-African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Darfur, expressed its grave concern over today's military action including explosions, shelling and mortars in El Fasher, which is also the mission's headquarters.
UN-AU Special Representative for Darfur Rodolphe Adada called upon all warring parties to instantly cease hostilities and end the cycle of violence that would add to the suffering of the people of Darfur.
Voicing concern for the safety of Darfurians, he cautioned that stepped-up insecurity would thwart the delivery of vital humanitarian aid.
The sounds of fighter jets and other violence yesterday morning spurred rumours in El Fasher that the city was under attack by one of the armed movements and that the Sudanese Armed Forces were repulsing the attack.
Causing fear among the people, reports of a possible attack resulted in the closing of the market, traffic jams and schoolchildren being sent home, according to Mr Ban's statement.
The mission also noted that since the outbreak of fighting on 15 January in Muhajeriya, South Darfur, warring sides have been active near mission's camps in the region.
In a press statement, the mission reminded all parties deployed in Darfur to implement its mandated tasks including the protection of civilians.
"The deployment of warring factions in the vicinity of UNAMID facilities threatens the security of both the mission's personnel and civilians who have moved to the perimeters of camps seeking safety," the mission said.
Darfur conflict which began in 2003, pitting rebels against government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen has killed an estimated 300,000 people and uprooted some 2.7 million people.
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