Geo58 Former NFL Pro Bowl Junior Seau dead at 43
Sat 23 Sep 2006
Fresh fears for Darfur as civilians bombed
CHRIS STEPHEN IN NEW YORKSUDAN was accused of launching fresh attacks in the Darfur region yesterday, killing dozens of civilians in a campaign of “indiscriminate aerial bombing”.
The attacks come amid reports Sudan is preparing a major offensive in the region.
United Nations monitors said the air-strikes were launched at the village of Tabarat, in northern Darfur.
“People talk about this white plane and bombs being dropped out of the back. This is a recurrent feature,” said Jose Luis Diaz, a UN spokesman.
“Civilians in villages in north Darfur are forced to flee due to indiscriminate aerial bombardment by government aircraft.”
Additionally, monitors say the pro-government Janjaweed militia has attacked and raped women at camps for some of Darfur’s two million refugees. The reports come as the UN in New York tries to patch together an agreement for a beefed-up peacekeeping force for Sudan.
This week Sudan agreed that African Union peacekeepers could remain in the region until January, beyond their present mandate, which expires at the end of the month.
But UN officials say this fails to solve the problem as the 7,000-strong AU force has neither the troops nor the mandate to stop violence that has killed 200,000 since 2003. Sudan has blocked UN plans to deploy a 20,000-strong force and officials are trying to negotiate a compromise.
Officials in New York say that Khartoum, frustrated with the failure of two of the three rebel groups in Darfur to sign a peace deal, is preparing a fresh offensive. Over 10,000 government troops are reportedly in the region and a new wave of ethnic cleansing is feared.
Last updated: 23-Sep-06 01:04 BST