Gunmen kill leader of displaced persons camp in Darfur UN reports

A patrol from the joint United Nations-African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID), dispatched to Camp Hassa Hissa in West Darfur on receiving reports of the attack yesterday, confirmed that the sheikh had been killed but found the camp to be calm.It was the second violent incident in an IDP camp this month. On 1 December two Janjaweed militiamen, usually allied with Government forces, armed with a rifle quarrelled with IDPs at Hissa Hissa camp in South Darfur. One of the militiamen was severely beaten and later died and an IDP suffered a minor injury. The other militiaman was arrested and taken into custody by Sudanese police.The following day a dozen armed men set ablaze a water pump and five generators supplying energy to Hissa Hissa, lightly injuring one IDP. Then, too, UNAMID sent an armed team to calm down the tensions between the camp residents and the militiamen.A day later, two gunmen equipped with AK-47 assault rifles and a hand grenade stopped a humanitarian convoy, beat up aid workers and stole money as it was on its way from Nyala, the South Darfur capital, to Kalma IDP camp. Meanwhile, in North Darfur, UNAMID Deputy Police Commissioner for Operations Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi paid a one-day official visit to Kabkabiya as part of his familiarization tour of the mission’s area of operations. 11 December 2008Unidentified gunmen have shot dead the traditional leader of a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region, the latest in a series of attacks on the 2.7 million people uprooted by over five years of fighting between the Government and rebels, the United Nations reported today. read more

Security Council backs UN plan to help East Timor when it gains

In a presidential statement read out in a formal meeting by Brian Cowan, the Foreign Minister of Ireland, which holds the presidency of the 15-member body for the month of October, the Council agreed with Mr. Annan’s assessment that the UN should remain engaged in East Timor to protect the major achievements so far of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), to build on those accomplishments and to help the East Timorese government in ensuring security and stability.The Council concurred that a new UN mission should be based on the premise that operational responsibilities should be gradually handed over to East Timorese authorities as soon as it was feasible, and supported a continuing process of assessment and downsizing of the UN presence over a period of two years.The Council also backed the recommendation by East Timor’s Constituent Assembly that independence be declared on 20 May 2002. Before the Council began its discussion, it held a private teleconference this morning with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is in Geneva, on the situation in East Timor as well as his proposals for a mission to succeed UNTAET.At the outset of the open debate, UNTAET chief Sergio Vieira de Mello briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s plan for a UN presence in East Timor post-independence, pointing out that the proposed date was exactly 200 days away. The successor mission to UNTAET, Mr. Vieira de Mello said, would focus on the security of the new nation. Upon independence, internal security would continue to be the primary responsibility of the international civilian police, with increasing involvement from the national police service. Meanwhile, the military component should number some 5,000 personnel, down 44 per cent from current strength, in order to ensure effective border security pending the development of East Timor’s own defence force.Mr. Vieira de Mello also warned that as Timorese took greater control over their governance, any precipitous reduction in government services should be avoided, and a minimum degree of support was needed to ensure that the new government did not falter. Despite progress toward independence, he stressed, the “job we have all set out to do is not yet done.”Today’s meeting also featured the Chief Minister of the Second Transitional Government of East Timor, Mari Alkatiri, and officials from the World Bank and UN Development Programme (UNDP). Speakers from more than 50 delegations took the floor during the discussion to express their support for UNTAET and the UN’s efforts in East Timor. read more