A UN report on Wednesday said 15 bodies had been found in the area around the town of Edwa in Darfur.

   

The UN report did not say who had launched the attack. But aid community sources said Janjawid militias on 1 December carried out an attack for the first time in months around Edwa.

   

"Most of the approximately 7000 population from the area appear to have fled to Jeruf, a ... [rebel] held location ... and Duma," the UN report issued in Khartoum said.

 

Trade route

   

Both are villages near Edwa, which lies on a major trade route between north and south Darfur.

 

African Union forces came under
attack near Edwa

"The town and surrounding area had been subject to attack by armed tribesmen," the UN report said.

 

The African Union said its forces, which are monitoring a ceasefire between government and rebel forces in Darfur, came under fire while on their way to verify fighting near Edwa.

   

The Sudanese government said its police forces also entered Edwa on 1 December because the town had been used as a rebel base to loot commercial and aid vehicles.

 

Khartoum said this week security forces had found dozens of stolen vehicles there.

   

Darfur rebels took up arms against Khartoum nearly two years ago to protest at what they said was the government's marginalisation of the arid region.