U.N. official: Darfur a 'ticking bomb'

Sept. 4, 2007 at 10:20 AM

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The United Nations' special envoy to Sudan's embattled Darfur region said in Khartoum that land-grabbing has created a "a ticking bomb."

Envoy Jan Eliasson told Voice of America frustration, tension and anger were mounting in refugee camps. He said tribal clashes are more frequent and deadly than fighting between government-backed militia and separatist rebel groups

"Also due to the fact that many of the villages are being reoccupied by people who do not own that land ... this is like a ticking bomb," Eliasson said. "We need to stop that process and instead move to the political talks, which in turn would mean the beginning of normalization of the situation on the ground."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in Khartoum for private talks about include peacekeeping, political talks and aid with Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to end the 4-year-old conflict.

The African Union has a 7,000-person peacekeeping force in the region, which is to be joined by thousands of U.N. peacekeepers -- all from Africa -- by the end of the year.

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