Sudan declines to comment on fighting in Darfur

  Khartoum- Sudan (PANA) -- Sudanese authorities have declined to comment on the intensification of fighting between government troops and two rebel movements in the western Darfur region in violation of a cease-fire they signed recently in N'djamena, the Chadian capital.
   Under the accord signed on 8 April, the warring parties agreed to cease hostilities by 11 April, guarantee safe passage for humanitarian aid to the famine stricken region, free prisoners of war and disarm militias blamed for much of the violence.
This was the third cease-fire of its kind to be signed by the Sudanese government and two rebel groups -- the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement, which started fighting 14 months ago.
In a press statement issued here late Friday, the state minister at the ministry of humanitarian affairs, Mohammed Yousif Abdellah said the government was very keen to raise any cease-fire violations in a bid to keep the volatile cease-fire holding.
"The government is keen to report to the cease-fire monitoring committee which undertakes investigations when the accord is violated or not.
the committee is the only organ who can determine whether there is a violation of the cease-fire or not," Abdellah said.
Meanwhile, the general secretary of the ruling National Congress Abrahim Ahmed Omar said the Sudanese government opposed all acts by militias or other elements that posed a threat to Chadian security or generated new tension between its citizens.
Responding to a protest issued Thursday by the Chadian foreign ministry to the Sudanese ambassador yo N'djamen, Hassan Bashir, following cross-border incursions by Janjaweed militias from Darfur, Omar told journalists the government can't tolerate anyone trying to disrupt "our relations with Chad".
   "The ties between two neighbouring countries and in particular the ruling parties are unique .
we highly commended the role played by the Chadian President Idriss Debby in the peace talks with the rebels," Omar said at a press briefing in Khartoum.
   Meanwhile foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail on Friday denied allegation that Sudanese government forces were engaged in a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" in Darfur region.
Ismail was responding to a report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch that accused the Khartoum government of driving more than 1 million black Sudanese citizens from their homes.
Human Rights Watch alleged that Sudanese soldiers and nomadic Arab militiamen had killed thousands of people in a deliberate campaign to drive black African tribes from the Darfur region.
It also accused the government of providing weapons and air support to the Arab Janjaweed militia, who often sweep into villages riding camels and horses.
HRW called on the UN Security Council meeting Friday on the Darfur situation, to step in to help stop the bloodshed and look for evidence of crimes against humanity.
  On his part a senior UN human rights official charged Friday that Sudan established, armed and supported Arab militias.
He accused Sudanese government forces and the Janjaweed militias of engaging in "a reign of terror" that "may constitute war crimes and or crimes against humanity,".
"Disturbing patterns of massive human rights violation in Darfur perpetrated by the government of Sudan and its proxy militia.
" Bertrand G.
Ramcharan, the acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in his 16-page report on the conflict in Darfur.
Sudanese ambassador to UN Elfatih Erwa Mohammed Ah med, categorically denied that the Khartoum government had armed the militias, insisting that the killings of civilians were accidental due to the civil war that flared up in Darfur early last year.
"We have not been targeting civilians, but as I have said, there is a war," he said.
"A bomb does not differentiate between a civilian or the military.
In some modern states, they call it collateral damage.
" the Sudanese government-owned television quoted Mohammed Ahmed as saying late Friday.
The UN estimates that at least 10,000 people have died since the outbreak of civil war in Darfur in February 2003.
One million people have been forced to flee their villages, while over 100,000 have crossed the border to seek shelter in Chad.

08 may 2004 11:14:00

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