Home | News    Tuesday 31 August 2004

Nigeria warns Sudan on ceasefire breaches in Darfur

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ABUJA, Aug 30 (AFP) — The African Union chairman, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, said Monday that AU ceasefire monitors had confirmed reports of a recent attack on civilians by Sudanese forces in Darfur.

A statement released by Obasanjo’s office said that the president had written to his Sudanese counterpart to express his concern over the incident and warn him not to allow his forces to undermine AU-brokered peace talks.

"The president expressed his disappointment at the reported attacks which he said had been confirmed to him by the chairman of the ceasefire monitoring commission," said the statement, signed by Obasanjo’s spokeswoman Remi Oyo.

"He has written to President Omar Hassan el-Bashir asking him to ensure that all attacks by government forces and the Janjaweed (militia) cease forthwith lest the international community might draw the conclusion that the Abuja talks are being undermined," it said.

The statement was issued after Obasanjo met separately with Sudanese government envoys and representatatives of two rebel groups from the western Sudanese region of Darfur on the sidelines of the week-old peace talks.

On Saturday, the talks temporarily broke down when rebel delegates staged a 24-hour walk-out in protest at what they said was n August 26 attack by government forces on the village of Yassin in southern Darfur.

The rebels said that 64 civilians were killed. Obasanjo’s statement did not confirm the death toll, and Khartoum has denied any knowledge of the attack.

Delegates from both sides of the 18-month-old civili conflict are due to meet in Abuja on Monday for the latest round of the AU talks and are expected to agree to a joint plan to resolve Darfur’s humanitarian crisis.

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