Sudan 'kills hundreds in Darfur'
|Bbc News, 09 Octobre 2006|
Hundreds of Sudanese have been killed in attacks in Darfur, with the apparent knowledge and support of the government, a UN report says.
The attacks took place in August but the UN previously thought that 38 people had died in the attacks on black African villages.
Sudan has always denied backing the Arab militias accusing of widespread atrocities in Darfur.
The government is opposed to plans to send UN peacekeepers to Darfur.
Some 7,000 African Union (AU) troops have been unable to end the violence, which has led some 2m people to flee their homes since 2003. Studies estimate at least 200,000 people have died during the conflict.
The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Louise Arbour called for an investigation into the attacks in the Buram area of South Darfur and for those responsible to be prosecuted.
Sudan's Justice Minister Mohamed Ali al-Mardi told Reuters news agency that the report had not used reliable sources, adding that the government did not back one side against another in Darfur.
"[The UN] declare what they have heard and after some time it turns out to be not true," he said.
The report says the attacks were carried out by up to 1,000 Arab militiamen wearing government-style uniforms, using machine guns mounted on vehicles.
"As they approached houses, the attackers fired indiscriminately into civilian dwellings, shooting those inside, and systematically setting fire to houses," it says.
"Possessions, including all livestock, were extensively looted. Civilians attempting to flee the village were caught and fired at."
The report says that no evidence was found of any rebel activity in the area.
Instead, the report says, the violence appears to have been a coordinated campaign to drive out black Africans before the arrival of UN peacekeepers, with the assumption that international troops would simply maintain the status quo in the area.
The area is now reported to be deserted, as most of the 10,000 inhabitants have fled.
The US says a genocide is being carried out in Darfur but Sudan says the scale of the problems is being exaggerated for political reasons.
It says that the idea of sending 20,000 well-equipped UN peacekeepers with a strong mandate to end the Darfur conflict would infringe on its sovereignty.
After a bitter row at the UN Security Council last week, it suggested that the UN could provide training and logistical support to the AU force.