At least 460,000 people in Sudan’s Darfur region have been displaced this year as a result of tribal violence and rebel-government battles, the United Nation says.
Citing humanitarian organisations, the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Thursday said that “so far in 2013 at least 460,000 people have fled their homes in Darfur as a result of inter-tribal fighting and clashes between the SAF (Sudanese army) and armed movements”.
“This is more than the number of people internally displaced in Darfur in 2011 and 2012 combined,” the UN said.
The latest figure marks a jump from the 300,000 who UN humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos announced in May had been displaced during the first five months of the year.
Tribal violence has eclipsed rebel activity as Darfur’s major security threat, Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein said in a briefing to parliament on Tuesday.
Darfur has been unstable since 2003 when armed groups complaining about marginalisation by the Sudanese government started a rebellion, which sucked in government-backed militias known as the Janjaweed, which were blamed for widespread killings that have been labelled as genocide.
President Omar el-Bashir was in 2009 indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes in Darfur, which issued a warrant for his arrest but he remains at large, and has since visited several African countries.
The UN estimates as many as 300,000 people have been killed in the Darfur genocide but the Sudanese government says the death toll has been grossly inflated.