Darfur figures 'false'

Al-Bashir said via a video media conference on Monday: "The figure of 200,000 dead is false and the number of dead is not even 9,000.

"All the figures have been falsified and the child mortality rate in Darfur does not exceed that in Khartoum."

He accused Western countries of inflating statistics to justify a military intervention.

"Any talk of a deterioration of the situation in Darfur is false"

Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan

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"Any talk of a deterioration of the situation in Darfur is false," he said, claiming that only five out of 23 major towns in the region were currently facing security problems.

The US accuses al-Bashir's government of genocide in Darfur and has pushed for UN peacekeepers to be dispatched there.

The Sudanese president has consistently rejected efforts to replace the African Union observers currently deployed in Darfur, accusing the West of seeking to invade his country and plunder its resources.

Deadly attacks

Commentators say senior government officials fear that a UN troop presence in Darfur could lead to their indictment by the International Criminal Court.

During the press conference, al-Bashir insisted that the unrest in Darfur was the result of tribal clashes prompted by drought and had been politically exploited by foreign countries such as Chad.

Meanwhile, Sudanese media reported on Tuesday that 32 civilians were killed in two attacks in the west of the country.

There was no official confirmation of the death toll carried by the Sudanese Media Centre, an online information outlet affiliated to the government.

One of the attacks was carried out outside the boundaries of Darfur, in West Kordofan state, drawing accusations from the government and local leaders that rebel groups were seeking to widen the conflict.