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Annan condemns recent attacks in Darfur killing civilians, calls on Government to act

Annan condemns recent attacks in Darfur killing civilians, calls on Government to act

Condemning the recent militia attacks in Sudan’s strife-torn West Darfur region that killed scores of civilians, reportedly including young children, and forced thousands more to flee, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on all sides to respect humanitarian law and appealed to the Government to prevent such violence.

“The Secretary-General condemns the large-scale militia attacks in the Jebel Moon area… on 29 and 30 October. The attacks on eight civilian settlements, including a camp harbouring some 3,500 internally displaced persons, caused scores of civilian deaths and forced thousands to flee the area,” Mr. Annan said in a statement attributable to his spokesman.

“The Secretary-General is particularly distressed on hearing reports that 27 of those killed were children under the age of 12.”

“The Secretary-General calls again in the strongest possible terms on the parties to respect their agreements and the provisions of international humanitarian law. He appeals once more to the Government of Sudan to take all necessary measures to prevent further attacks against civilians, particularly by militia forces.”

At least 200,000 people are estimated to have died in Darfur as a result of the conflict between Government forces, allied militias and rebels seeking greater autonomy, and more than 2 million others have been displaced. However the Government has rejected the expansion of the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) to the troubled region and at present the UN assists an African Union mission there.