KHARTOUM - Fighting over a gold mine in Sudan's Darfur region has forced 100,000 people to flee and brought the closure of all public offices and schools in one town to accommodate the displaced, the United Nations said on Thursday.
Conflict has raged in the vast arid region of Darfur for almost a decade since mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms against the Arab government in Khartoum in 2003, accusing it of political and economic neglect.Violence has ebbed since a peak in 2003/2004 but has picked up again in the past few months.
This month heavy fighting broke out between two Arab tribes over gold in the Jebel Amer area in North Darfur, displacing or severely affecting 100,000 people, the United Nations said. It had previously reported 70,000 displaced people.
"Many of these people are living in the open in appalling conditions," the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report.
Some 65,000 people had fled to the town of El Sireaf, the United Nations said, adding that all public offices and schools had been closed in the area to shelter displaced people.