Home | News    Wednesday 15 October 2003

Arab militias kill 34 in raid in west Sudan - MP

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KHARTOUM, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Arab tribal militias this week killed 34 people and torched several villages in a raid in west Sudan, where rivalry between African farming communities and Arab cattle herders is common, a Sudanese MP said on Wednesday.

Idriss Youssef, a member of parliament from the western Darfur region, made the comments to reporters after a briefing to parliament in which he urged the government to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the area.

The Arab militias, known locally as the "Janjaweed", are not linked to an uprising in the west by the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), which has recently signed a ceasefire with the government. Clashes between African farming communities and Arab cattle herders are frequent in Darfur and fuelled by rivalry over dwindling water resources and dwindling pasture caused by desertification.

"The Janjaweed kill and burn in this area without receiving any retaliation from the state," Youssef told reporters. He said militias launched a raid earlier this week that killed 34, including three people working on a dam project, in the Kas and Wadi Saleh areas of the Darfur region, which borders Chad. He said they also set fire to more than six villages.

The African tribes accuse Sudan’s Islamist government of supporting the Arab tribesmen or turning a blind eye.

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