Thousands of civilians recently attacked by government-backed militias in West Darfur need urgent assistance, a joint UN assessment mission has found. The Feb. 8 attacks were intended to rout forces of the opposition Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) from Abu Sorouj, Sirba and Seleia towns in West Darfur, according to Sudanese government officials. The UN World Food Program (WFP) said the joint mission visited the area on Feb. 11 and found about 5,000 people in Sirba in urgent need of food, shelter, medical support and other non-food items. (IRIN)

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