The attackers riding camels and horses swept through the village of Abu Sorouj in the war-wrecked Darfur region on Monday, killing the villagers and destroying and looting their houses, UN spokesperson Radhia Achouri, told reporters.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the attack, Achouri said on Wednesday, warning that "the security situation in Darfur remains volatile. Militia attacks on villages continue".

Abu Sorouj was among a number of villages that were attacked this week in all three Darfur states "and continuous displacements of people have been reported",
Achouri said.

Recent fighting has forced some 5000 people to flee their homes in southern Darfur to northern areas, Achouri said.

The African Union, which maintains 7000 peacekeepers in Darfur, said it was "outraged" by the Abu Sorouj attack.

An AU statement said the organisation's peace mediator Salim Ahmed Salim, condemned "the unwarranted brutal killings of numerous innocent civilians, including women and children, and the destruction of their homes and property by armed militia".

AU-sponsored peace talks ended on 7 December in Abuja, Nigeria, and another round is not expected before the new year.

The AU also urged Sudanese officials to ensure that the assailants "face the full force of the law".