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Crisis growing in southern Darfur

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- The recent deterioration of security in the Darfur region of Sudan is increasingly threatening civilian safety, a top U.N. official said Tuesday.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said the ongoing rebel violence and airstrikes from Sudanese government forces in the southern Darfur town of Muhajeria must come to an end. The United Nations estimates as many as 30,000 people have been forced to flee the violence since Jan. 15 and at least 30 local civilians have been killed, the United Nations reported.

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Pillay said the violence in southern Darfur is threatening an already fragile humanitarian situation in Muhajeria.

"The fighting is reported to have involved ground offensives and indiscriminate aerial bombardment by government forces that failed to distinguish between civilian communities and military targets," she said in a statement.

Pillay called on the international community to support the protection of civilians and for the Sudanese government and rebel leaders to respect international humanitarian laws.

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