UN: 'Summary executions' in Sudan

Sudanese forces and government-backed militias have carried out summary executions of civilians in west Sudan, a senior United Nations official has charged.

    Fighting in Darfur has affected two million people

    Asma Jahangir, the UN special rapporteur on executions,

    said on Sunday that

     her accusations were based on

    "credible information".

    She also said members

    of the militia, which locals accuse of looting and killing

    villagers, were being integrated into the armed forces.

    Jahangir made the comments after visiting the conflict-stricken Darfur region.

    Independent rights groups have already accused the

    government and militia, known as janjaweed, of carrying out mass

    executions in the region where rebels launched an armed uprising

    in February 2003.

    Arab militia

    Fighting in the remote area has affected two million people

    and driven 158,000 people across the border into Chad, creating

    what the UN has said is one of the world's worst

    humanitarian crises.

    "I received numerous accounts of the extrajudicial and

    summary executions carried out by government-backed militias and

    by the security forces themselves," Jahangir told reporters.

    "I received numerous accounts of the extrajudicial and

    summary executions carried out by government-backed militias and

    by the security forces themselves"

    Asma Jahangir,
    UN special rapporteur on executions

    "According to credible information, members of the armed

    forces, the Popular Defence Forces and various groups of

    government-sponsored militias attacked villagers and summarily

    executed civilians," she said in Khartoum.

    Rights groups have accused the government of arming the Arab

    janjaweed to drive out African villagers from their homes, in

    what UN officials have said is a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

    The government calls the janjaweed outlaws and denies any link.

    'Criminal elements'

    "According to the information I collected, many of the

    militias are being integrated into the regular armed or the

    Popular Defence Forces. There is no ambiguity that there is a

    link between some of the militias and government forces,"

    Jahangir said.

    But she said some criminal elements had taken advantage of

    the conflict.

    Jahangir also travelled around other areas of Sudan,

    including Malakal in the south. The Sudanese government is close

    to reaching a final peace deal with southern rebels to end a

    separate 21-year-old conflict in that region.

    "In my report, I will forcefully stress the question of

    accountability as a fundamental principle in addressing

    violations of human rights... The government of the Sudan must

    make every effort to end the culture of impunity," she said.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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