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Troops in Darfur begin 24-hour patrols

EL FASHER, Sudan, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The U.N.-African Union mission in the Darfur region of Sudan has increased the number of police patrols to protect civilians from the recent surge in violence.

The U.N.-AU peacekeeping mission to Darfur, called UNAMID, has begun patrolling northern Darfur near El Fasher, Sudan, at night to increase the counter threats to two camps with large numbers of internally displaced persons, the United Nations reported.

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Officials said the UNAMID troops, based at a recently established community-policing center in the volatile northern region, will now provide civilians with 24-hour continuous patrolling as part of an effort to counter threats from Janjaweed militiamen and the Sudanese military's operation targeting the militants.

The UNAMID operation in Darfur was established to protect the estimated 2.7 million displaced people forced to flee their homes as a result of the ongoing violence. The United Nations said the violence has killed as many as "300,000 people … since fighting erupted in 2003," according to a release.

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