Saturday, October 22, 2005 (London):
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called for a renewed focus on Darfur in Sudan as the risk of conflict in the region escalates.
Speaking in London on Friday, the UN High Commissioner, Antsnio Guterres, asked the international community to help restore peace in Darfur in western Sudan.
Guterres said the situation in the country was "very serious".
He stressed the need for the international community to act to save people in Darfur.
He also warned that peace talks between northern and southern Sudan could break down again.
Fighting and insecurity throughout Darfur is hindering food and relief aid to tens of thousands of people and forcing more displaced Sudanese into already crammed refugee camps.
A recent rise in violence, marked by increased banditry and attacks on African Union peacekeepers, has led to the movement of aid workers being restricted.
The Darfur conflict started after rebels - the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement - took up arms against the Arab-dominated government to win more political and economic rights for the region's African tribes.
Sudan's government is accused of responding by backing Janjaweed militiamen responsible for rapes and killings of Sudanese of African origin - claims which the government denies.
The United Nations estimates the fighting has resulted in the deaths of more than 180,000 people through violence, disease or malnutrition. (AP)
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