Gunmen kill some 30 civilians in Darfur - UN
SUDAN: Gunmen on horseback attacked a truck carrying medicine
and aid in Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region and killed around 30
civilians on board, some of whom were burned alive, the United Nations
said on Sunday.
The African Union had earlier put the death toll at 22 and said 10
others were wounded on Saturday when gunmen attacked the vehicle near
Sirba, 45 km (30 miles) north of El Geneina, capital of West Darfur
state and close to the Sudan-Chad border.
"The gunmen were riding on horseback. The exact number of civilian
casualties is not yet established but it is estimated that around 30
people were killed," U.N. spokeswoman in Sudan Radhia Achouri said on
"Some people were shot, others were burned to death," she said. The
vehicle was carrying medicine and relief items and transporting people,
AU spokesman in Sudan Noureddine Mezni said the attackers probably
used rocket-propelled grenades against the vehicle.
The violence highlights the worsening situation in Darfur where
experts say around 200,000 people have been killed since the conflict
flared in 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government, accusing
it of neglect.
A May peace deal between the government and one rebel faction has
failed to stop Darfur bloodshed.
Analysts say all sides of the conflict - rebels, government forces
and Arab militias allied to the government - are engaged in fresh
fighting. Some aid workers say the humanitarian situation has not been
as bad since 2003.
Achouri did not identify precisely who was behind Saturday's attack.
Militias locally known as the Janjaweed, which the Khartoum government
is accused of backing, are known to carry out some attacks in the region
riding camels and horses.
In November suspected Janjaweed attacked Sirba, killing up to 30
villagers and wounding 40. Khartoum denies supporting the Janjaweed.
Mohamed al-Tulib, the acting governor of West Darfur, said Saturday's
attack was carried out by the National Redemption Front (NRF) rebel
group, the official Sudanese news agency (SUNA) quoted him as saying.
There was no comment from the NRF, a coalition of rebel groups that
rejected the May peace deal.
Khartoum, Monday, Reuters