|The fresh violence in Darfur comes as thousands migrate to the South in preparation for the referendum [AFP]
As many as 12,000 people have fled following fresh fighting between army and Darfur rebels in Sudan, according to the United Nations.
Peacekeepers in the region said on Sunday that the displaced are heading towards already overcrowded camps and settlements in the war-torn region.
"The Mission has noticed that approximately 12,000 people fled the area and are moving towards the Shangil Tobaya and Zam Zam internally displaced persons camp, near El Fasher in North Darfur," said Darfur's UNAMID peacekeepers in a statement.
Sudan's army has clashed with fighters in the South Darfur village of Khor Abeche at least three times this month, drawing sharp criticism from UN envoys.
Sudan's army attacked fighters from the Sudan Liberation Movement loyal to Minni Minnawi last week and fighting continued on Friday.
Minnawi was the only Darfur rebel leader to sign a 2006 peace deal with the government.
Sudan's army declared Minnawi a military target earlier this month, accusing him of breaking a ceasefire
and plotting to join rebels still fighting the government.
Last week, Minnawi accused the government of failing to implement the Darfur agreement, saying that he is "ready to do battle."
The fighting was the final nail in the coffin for the troubled peace deal, which was boycotted by the region's two main rebel groups and did nothing to halt the spread of lawlessness, banditry and violence in the territory.
UNAMID said 100 people had already arrived in North Darfur by Saturday.
Aid agencies had started sending in medical kits and other supplies, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement.