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Sudan protests AU charges of attacks on civilians

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Oct 2, 2005 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan criticized the African Union on Sunday for its accusations the day before that government forces had attacked civilians in the troubled Darfur region.

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Baba Gana Kingibe

But in his comments to reporters, Matref Sideiq, a deputy at the Foreign Ministry, stopped short of denying the accusations.

"The media is not the right place to talk about the Darfur issue or how to solve it. There are joint committees and a mechanism for it," Sideiq said. "Issuing such a statement (by the African Union) will not help solve the problem."

Baba Gana Kingibe, the chief of AU envoy to Sudan, said Saturday that Sudanese government forces attacked civilians in Darfur, committing acts of "calculated and wanton destruction" that have killed at least 44 people and displaced thousands more during the past two weeks.

Kingibe gave four instances of Sudanese army troops conducting what he called "coordinated offensive operations" with the Janjaweed Arab militia since Sept. 18 in Darfur.

His charge is politically embarrassing to the new government as Sudan has repeatedly denied any collusion with the Janjaweed, which has been blamed for the bulk of human rights violations in the two-year conflict.

More than 180,000 people have died in Darfur and another 2 million people have been displaced since residents of African ethnic origin rebelled against the government, accusing it of neglect and discrimination.

(AP/ST)

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