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African Union condemns Minawi group torture

Aug 1, 2006 (KHARTOUM) — African Union special envoy to Sudan condemned torture practiced by a former Darfur rebel group, which signed peace deal, inside the AU compound in Al-Fasher.

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Babagana Kingibe

The AU said in a press release issued today that AU representative in Sudan Baba Gana Kingibe, “shocked and horrified at the incidence of torture which occurred in the SLA quarters in Al Fasher whereby a middle aged unidentified individual was brutally beaten and blooded all over, including severe blows to his head, on two successive days, the 17th and 18th July, 2006”.

The AU force attempted to intervene, but were rebuffed by SLA elements who dragged the victim back into their compound, the AU said. Colonel Ali Mokhtar, the leader of the group claimed that the victim was an SLA soldier under discipline. The fate of the victim is not known.

“This incident lends credence to the previous incessant allegations” said the AU statement.

In spite of Minawi denial, different reports from the ground affirm that SLM-Minawi is committing human rights violations against members from the group who are opposed to the Darfur peace deal signed with the Sudanese government in Abuja last May. Minawi group attacks also other rebel groups rejecting the peace deal.

Ambassador Kingibe urged Minawi to order an immediate end to this practice. He further demands a thorough investigation of this particular incident and the culprits made accountable.

The AU affirmed its readiness to provide non military support to the Sudanese parties as required by the DPA, “but such cooperation cannot be expected by any party that condones torture and inhumane treatment of its own members, much less the civilian population in Darfur”.

Derfur holdout rebel groups accuse the AU of losing its neutrality by housing Minnawi in their headquarters in Al-Fasher, flying him in AU helicopters on demand around Darfur and allowing his troops to drive AU vehicles in Al-Fasher town.

(ST)