The attacks on Saturday came weeks after the government said major military operations were over in the area.

Two rebel groups launched a revolt in remote Darfur last February, accusing the government of neglecting the arid region and arming Arab militias to burn and loot African villages.

President Umar Hasan al-Bashir said last month the government was in full control of Darfur and major military operations were over, which the rebels deny.

A resident of Sherya town, about 70km east of the Southern Darfur state capital Nyala, said Antonov planes began bombarding the town on Friday evening and Arab militias known as "Janjaweed" attacked at the same time.

Sporadic bombing

"We left as soon as we heard the Janjaweed coming. They were screaming and shooting into the air so we ran," the man, who declined to be named, said.

He added that six women and children were killed by the bombings, including a one-year-old child and 25 people were injured.

A spokesman for the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) said the bombing was continuing sporadically and 15 children were still missing.

"We left as soon as we heard the Janjaweed coming. They were screaming and shooting into the air so we ran"

Witness to the Darfur attack

But the Sudanese armed forces spokesman declined to comment, and the governor of Southern Darfur was unavailable for an interview.

The United Nations has warned of a humanitarian crisis in Darfur and says the conflict has affected one million people with more than 100,000 refugees fleeing to Chad.

Darfur refugees

Meanwhile, government officials in Khartoum told Sudanese giving food and shelter to more than 2300 Darfurians - who sold the last of their possessions to seek refuge in the capital - to clear the area where they were encamped within two days.

Muhammad Musa, a resident in the southern Khartoum suburb of Merowe, said on Saturday that officials from the government's commission for refugees had come to the camp to help the displaced people return to Darfur.

"But when we told them none of them wanted to go back because they did not feel safe there, they told us we had to clear the camp and take the people into our houses," he said.

Aid workers say there are 1195 internally displaced people (IDPs) in the makeshift camp of a mosque and a school, and the rest of the IDPs had already been taken into what little space there was in people's homes.

The office of the minister for humanitarian assistance, Ibrahim Mahmud Hamid, said he was not available for comment.