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250 killed, over 100,000 displaced as violence surges in Darfur: UNHCR

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Intercommunal violence in Sudan’s Darfur region has forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes in search of safety, including many into neighbouring Chad, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported on Friday.

According to UNHCR, 250 people – including three humanitarian workers – also lost their lives in the clashes that started on 15 January in West Darfur province, and spread into South Darfur the next day.

Boris Cheshirkov, a UNHCR spokesperson, told journalists at a regular press briefing in Geneva on Friday, that about 3,500 new Sudanese refugees have arrived in eastern Chad.

“These refugees – the majority of them women and children – have been hosted in four very remote locations that lack basic services or public infrastructure, where they have been sheltering under trees,” he said.

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“Due to the COVID-19 situation, Chadian local authorities are directing the new arrivals to a transit site, where they will undergo quarantine before being relocated to an existing refugee camp, away from the border,” the UNHCR spokesperson added.

He said that the UN agency is rushing supplies to the area to respond to their needs, as well as mobilizing resources as part of an inter-agency response.

Authorities in the region have been attempting to contain the situation and have deployed security forces to the area but “severe gaps” in protection remain, according to the UN human rights office.

However, an “imminent risk” of further violence remains, in an environment “where decades-old ethnic and tribal tensions that were further stoked by the previous regime continue to fester”, OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said at the same briefing.

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There are reports that local health facilities are unable to cope with the high number of casualties, she added.

The OHCHR spokesperson called on the Government of Sudan to protect of civilians as well as restore public order and the rule of law in Darfur.

She also called for thorough and effective investigations into the violence to bring the perpetrators to justice and “to break the cycle of armed citizens taking the law into their own hands to avenge attacks on members of their communities.”

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Barka da Sallah to Muslim faithfuls who don’t behave like terrorists — Kanu

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Nnamdi Kanu, rights activist and leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB)

Rights activist, Nnamdi Kanu, has congratulated Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr – one of the holiest occasions on the Islamic calendar.

Kanu, in a message Thursday, noted that his message and best wishes are directed to “Muslim faithfuls who don’t think and behave like the terrorists” who he said are presiding over the government in Nigeria.

“May the peace & blessings of your God Allah be and abide with you always,” said the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

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Rocket attacks: Nigerian govt frowns, send message to Israel

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Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s federal government has expressed its displeasure with the rocket attacks between Israel and the Palestinian militant group in Gaza, Hamas.

In a statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, ​​Nigeria’s federal government called on both sides to defuse hostilities.

“The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Federal Government of Nigeria is watching with great concern the unfolding developments with Israel and the State of Palestine and urges both parties to see reason and de-escalate the hostilities,” said Nwonye.

“The Federal Government further urges the two parties to remain committed to the two-state solution and, in the meantime, guarantee the rights of all citizens to live in peace and dignity.”

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Gaza rocket attacks: US, Europe suspend flights to and from Israel

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A rocket launched from Gaza is intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome system on May 11. Photo by MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images

International air carriers are suspending flights to and from Israel amid ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza capable of reaching the country’s center, where Ben Gurion Airport is located, near to the city of Lod.

British Airways on Thursday became the latest carrier to cancel its Tel Aviv route, saying that “the safety and security of our colleagues and customers is always our top priority, and we continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Earlier on Thursday, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines announced that they were suspending flights from Frankfurt, Vienna and Munich on Thursday and Friday.

US-based carriers American, Delta and United on Wednesday cancelled all fights to Israel.

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American cancelled its daily flight from New York; United cancelled its flights from Chicago, Newark and San Francisco; and Delta cancelled flights from New York to Tel Aviv.

Ben Gurion Airport rerouted all incoming flights to Ramon International Airport in southern Israel’s Timna Valley – approximately 20 kilometers from Eilat – on Thursday, as terrorists in the Gaza Strip continued launching rockets toward Israeli territory.

Departing flights were still taking off from Ben Gurion.

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