Monday, January 11, 2010

Chadian Rebels Attack, Rape Darfuris - Residents

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Chadian rebels are raping, beating and looting villagers in western Sudan's North Darfur region, residents said on Monday.

Rights activists said the attacks might be war crimes and urged the Sudanese government and the United Nations to investigate them.

Chadian-Sudanese relations are key to the conflict in Darfur, and the two countries have accused each other of supporting rebels fighting for more power.

A rapprochement between the two neighbours last month included an agreement to form a joint border patrol force and to move rebel forces away from the long and porous frontier.

"We are asking the Khartoum government ... to immediately move these forces out of our areas ... and to compensate the victims of these crimes," a member of the youth movement from the al-Sayah area, Adam Shiekat, told Reuters by telephone.

Shiekat, who used a nickname for fear of arrest, said two teachers from the school in al-Sayah had been arrested by security forces and accused of disseminating information about the attacks.

The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies said those committing the crimes should be held accountable. "These acts may constitute war crimes and (we) call on the government of Sudan and relevant UN representatives to initiate a full and thorough investigation," it said in a statement.

A source in the aid community in Khartoum confirmed there had been numerous attacks and said that since the Chadians moved to the area on December 3, at least 20 women had been raped, a woman eight months pregnant had died from her injuries and four other people had been killed.

"These people are very, very poor and now they are suffering twice -- once during the Darfur war and now again," the source said, adding that the Chadians were stealing the precious little water, food and firewood in the area.

Sudan expelled 13 aid agencies last year, and those left are too scared to speak openly.Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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