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U.N. envoy flees mob in Darfur

Interpreter working for African Union killed

CNN's Nic Robertson was forced to flee the demonstrations as an angry mob surrounded his car.



African Union
United Nations

NYALA, Sudan (CNN) -- Angry demonstrators have killed a Sudanese interpreter working with African Union forces in Darfur in riots that broke out during a senior U.N. official's visit to a camp for displaced Sudanese, forcing him to flee.

Jan Egeland, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said the man was killed in an African Union police station after Egeland and his entourage were chased from the Kalma camp during violent protests.

The man, who was hacked to death when a civil police post was overrun after Egeland fled the camp, was serving as a translator for the police.

Egeland condemned the killing, saying it was the result of rising tensions in the camp. He urged local officials, U.N. officials and African Union leaders to find a way to calm the tensions.

In Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush said on Monday he had ordered emergency food stockpiles to be sent to Sudan to help ease the crisis and urged Congress to approve $225 million in food aid.

Bush said five U.S. shiploads of food would be despatched to Sudan and another 40,000 metric tons of food would be ordered for rapid shipment.

He added that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would address the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to request a resolution to accelerate deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur.

Journalists and aid workers traveling with Egeland, including CNN's Nic Robertson, were also forced to flee Monday.

According to Robertson, the crowd at the Kalma camp turned ugly when someone misinterpreted what an Oxfam interpreter was telling officials from the UK-based charity and decided he was a government spy.

The mob tried to stab the man and to pull him out of a U.N. vehicle, breaking windows in their efforts.

The vehicle, in which Robertson was riding, finally pulled away from the crowd. Video shot by CNN photographer Neil Bennett showed several refugees surrounding the vehicle, and angry shouts could be heard. (Watch as Robertson flees the scene)

Egeland and his entourage also had to flee the demonstrators, who had earlier been demanding that U.N. peacekeepers come to the region.

The U.N. humanitarian chief had only arrived in the camp, just east of Nyala, a short time earlier. He was met by a crowd of about 500 demonstrators holding signs and chanting for Sudan's government to allow U.N. peacekeepers into the country.

Egeland told reporters the peacekeepers were "vital" to helping end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

On Saturday a spokesman for the Sudanese government suggested that Sudan would welcome U.N. peacekeepers, but a foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters on Sunday that the government had not yet decided whether to allow the so-called "blue helmets" into the region.

Currently, 7,000 peacekeepers from the African Union are trying to maintain order in the nearly 1,000 camps for internally displaced refugees.

Egeland also met on Monday with several refugees, U.N. officials and aid workers at the Kalma camp. Some aid workers recounted how local officials had blocked their work at the camp and other problems they had encountered.

Egeland called on world powers to keep their concentration on Darfur, where 180,000 people have been killed and 2 million others forced from their homes since February 2003, when people in the region rebelled against state authority.

Arab "janjaweed" militias have systematically raped and pillaged entire villages in addition to killing many people. The United States has branded the situation in Darfur a "genocide."

Egeland's visit to Sudan came two days after a peace deal was reached in Nigeria between the Sudanese government and SLA rebel leaders.

CNN Senior Correspondent Nic Robertson contributed to this report

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