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France urges Sudan to cooperate with Darfur peacekeepers

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November 5, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — France condemned Monday a recent militia attack in North Darfur state and urged Sudan to cooperate with the forces of the joint peacekeeping operation in Darfur (UNAMID) to accomplish their mandate in the region.

On Friday 2 November, militiamen attacked the village of Sigili, located in the Shawa area, about 40 kilometres southeast of El Fasher, capital of North Darfur State. The assailants killed 13 civilians according to the latest reports.

A UNAMID verification team was intercepted on Saturday by the Sudanese police near Zamzam area and prevented from reaching the area to investigate the attack.

The move which remains unexplained frustrated the peacekeepers whose mandate is mainly to protect civilians in the region.

"France urges the Sudanese authorities to swiftly bring to justice those responsible for this unacceptable attack which violated all rules of international law," says a statement released by the French foreign ministry, on Monday.

Paris further urged Khartoum to cooperate with Darfur peacekeepers stressing that the "Sudanese authorities have an obligation to ensure UNAMID’s freedom of movement."

North Darfur Deputy Governor, Abu Al-Abbas Abdallah Al-Tayeb Jido explained that the attack was the latest in a series of tribal attacks between the people of Siligi and neighbouring areas.

But the rebel faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) said that the attack aimed to force the villagers, who are mainly from the Zagawa ethnic group, to leave the area and to confiscate their properties.

Gibreel Bilal, spokesperson of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) denounced UNAMID for its failure to protect civilians and to probe attacks carried against them by government militias.

He further called on the UN Security Council to form an international investigation panel to probe all the recent attacks on Darfur civilians carried by Sudanese government militias.

(ST)

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