Tearfund sees hope in Darfur

27 March 2008

by Ed Beavan

A BRITISH aid worker who recently returned from Darfur has confirmed reports of renewed violence in the troubled region.

Phil James, Tearfund’s Disaster Management Officer for Darfur, spent a week with their partner organisation Fellowship for African Relief (FAR) in the Beida area of western Darfur which borders Chad.

His visit coincided with Gordon Brown’s calls for renewed efforts for peace talks, and stronger sanctions to be introduced against the Sudanese government. Mr Brown was responding to reports of co-ordinated aerial bombardments and raids on villages in western Darfur by government-backed militias, which have forced civilians to flee to Chad.

Mr James said that the situation was made worse by the clashes between Chadian rebels and the Chadian government, and that the situation in Beida was still too unsafe for people to return. But he had seen signs of hope, and was encouraged to see families who were “quietly getting on with life and seeing significant benefits from their own hard work combined with the support of FAR”.

There are currently just 9000 troops from the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, out of a planned 26,000.

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