, KHARTOUM, Dec 11 – Food shortages and fighting between government forces and rebels have forced almost 3,000 people to flee their homes in Sudan’s Blue Nile state, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
The latest displacement comes after Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein said in November that an operation had begun to crush Sudanese rebels.
An estimated 2,800 people, mostly women and children, fled from four areas of Bau district southwest of the state capital Ed Damazin, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest weekly bulletin.
It cited information reported by a non-governmental group on December 1.
“This displacement is the result of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) as well as a result of food insecurity in their areas of origin,” OCHA said.
They sought shelter in El Gerri, east of the capital, where they urgently require food, clean water and access to basic healthcare, it added.
Aid agencies say the latest displacement brings to at least 5,800 the number of people who fled their homes in Blue Nile over a three-week period.
The SPLM-N said one of its fighters was killed along with several government troops in attacks on military convoys in Bau last Sunday.
Rebels of the SPLM-N have been fighting for two years in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, fuelled by alleged political and economic neglect.
Before the latest fighting, more than one million people in the two states had already been severely affected or displaced by the war, the UN has said.