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20 killed in Darfur militia attacks

Feb 21, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — The Janjaweed militia backed by the Sudanese government killed at least 20 people in an attack in a southern region of strife-torn Darfur, a rebel official said on Wednesday.

“Hundreds of Janjaweed mounted on camels with four all-terrain vehicles attacked the area of Umm Dhai,” said Kamal Eddin Haj Daoud, head of humanitarian affairs for the Sudanese Liberation Movement, the sole rebel signatory of a peace deal with the Khartoum government.

Daoud, whose statements appeared in the press, gave the names of seven dead, indicating that the others had not yet been identifed and their corpses had been burned.

He also said the pro-government militia also made off with 350 head of cattle.

The African Union, which has a peacekeeping force in the troubled region, could not confirm the attack, though the United Nations in Khartoum recently described reports of large concentrations of Janjaweed in the same area.

Daoud said that the last few months had seen frequent militia attacks against the African Zaghawa tribe in the area.

The civil war in Darfur has killed 200,000 people and displaced another two million over the past four years, according to the United Nations — although others put the toll much higher.

(AFP)