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Bombing Of Darfur Villages Unacceptable -- UN

Bombing of Darfur villages unacceptable, says senior UN official

5 May 2008 - The top military official with the new United Nations-African Union (AU) hybrid mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, has voiced his deep concern at the rising toll of civilian deaths as a result of the recent bombing of villages in the war-torn Sudanese region.

General Martin Luther Agwai, UNAMID's Force Commander and the Chairman of the Ceasefire Commission (CFC), said the reported bombings of villages, markets and populated areas in Umm Sidir, Ein Bassar and Shegeg Karo are unacceptable acts against civilians, compounding the extent of displacement, insecurity and untold human suffering.

Recent attacks by Sudanese forces have left three dead and at least eight injured in North Darfur.

UNAMID helicopters and medical evacuation teams are mobilized to evacuate casualties. The mission said it successfully airlifted wounded civilians, "following SAF [Sudanese forces] air attacks on the village of Umm Sidir in North Darfur" on Thursday.

In addition, a UNAMID fact-finding mission is conducting an investigation on the ground and peacekeepers are continuing to monitor the situation.

Initial reports suggest that the area, which is controlled by the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), "has witnessed repeated aerial attacks and possible fighting between government and rebel forces during the course of the last few days," according to a statement issued by UNAMID on 2 May.

The mission has urged all parties to the Darfur conflict - which have claimed more than 200,000 lives and displaced nearly 2.5 million others since 2003 - to adhere to international humanitarian laws, which prohibit military attacks against civilians.

ENDS

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