Home | News    Sunday 29 August 2004

AU to investigate alleged Sudan ceasefire violations

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ABUJA, Aug 28, 2004 (dpa) — The African Union mediation team in the Darfur crisis in Sudan requested the Union’s Ceasefire Commission on Saturday in Abuja to investigate alleged violations by the Sudanese government of the N’Djamena ceasefire agreement of April 8.

Delegates of the rebel Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLA) and army and those of the Justice and Equity Movement earlier Saturday staged a walkout during peace talks, accusing the Sudanese government of massacring civilians.

"We decided to boycott the meeting for 24 hours in order to mourn our people who have been killed this morning, yesterday and the day before. We will continue at the end of this 24 hours," said Ahmed Todgot, spokesman of the rebel Justice and Equity Movement.

"These killings have become the systematic policy of the Sudanese government in violation of agreements," he added.

"Definitely, the Sudanese government is not serious about engaging in political talks. Therefore, the whole operation of these talks will be in danger unless the Sudanese government stops this kind of violation," Togodt stressed.

In a press statement issued later, the rebel groups claimed that the village of Yassin was attacked and torched on August 25 by government’s forces.

"This attack resulted in the killing of 64 innocent civilians, while 16 others were seriously wounded," the rebel groups claimed.

Reacting to the withdrawal, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Sudanese government, Najeid Abdulwab, said "we regret the withdrawal by our brothers on the other side on the basis of claims of an attack."

"We don’t think what our brothers have reported today has any chance of truth," he added.

Earlier, Sudan denied reports by New York-based Human Rights Watch that its army was sharing at least five camps with Janjaweed militia blamed for ethnic cleansing in the Darfur region.

The leader of the Sudanese government delegation to the Abuja peace talks between Sudanese rebels and government, Majzoob al- Khalifa, said "it is not true. That is a mere fabrication."

Al-Khalifa, who is also the Minister of Agriculture, said the government had no business hosting Janjaweed militia in camps designated for displaced persons.

The United Nations has set a deadline of Monday for Khartoum to comply with its promises to disarm the militia, which it has backed as a way of suppressing a local rebel movement.

The conflict has left at least 30,000 people dead and displaced about one million people.

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