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South Africa will send military observers to Sudan

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Oct 20, 2004 (AP) — South Africa will send 10 military observers to help maintain peace in Sudan’s troubled western Darfur region, a government spokesman said Wednesday.

The deployment, requested by the African Union and approved Wednesday by South Africa’s Cabinet, will last until March 2006, spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe said.

It is part of AU plans to send 450 unarmed military observers to Darfur, where long-standing tensions between Arab tribes and African farmers exploded in violence in February 2003, when two African rebel groups took up arms over what they regard as unjust treatment by the government and Arab countrymen.

Since then, pro-government Arab militias called Janjaweed have unleashed attacks on Darfur villages, leading to an estimated 70,000 deaths and driving 1.5 million from their homes, the United Nations said.

Earlier the AU’s Peace and Security Council agreed to increase its force in Darfur from 390 to 3,320 troops and civilian police in an effort to end the violence.

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
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