Sudan 'targeted Darfur civilians'

UN human rights report accuses military of rapes, looting and destroying property.

    About 2.5 million people have fled their homes in Darfur since the fighting began in 2003 [File: EPA]

    There was no immediate response to the accusations from Khartoum.

    The report was issued in Geneva by the office of Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights, and the UN-AU mission in Darfur, Unamid.

    Military push

    The attacks, three on the village of Saraf Jidad in January, and others on the villages of Sirba, Sileia and Abu Surouj on February 8, came during a major military push by the Sudanese government against rebels in the area, it said.

    "The scale of destruction of civilian property, including objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population, suggests that the damage was a deliberate and integral part of a military strategy," the report said.

    The report said homes, clinics run by relief organisations, community centres, water towers, schools, food depots and shops were systematically vandalised.

    The buildings were "in many cases burned to the ground, sometimes with their occupants still inside," it said.

    Unamid said it had been unable to investigate reported ground and air attacks on the town of Jebel Moun and nearby areas in late February in which civilians were also reported to have died because the Sudanese authorities refused it access.

    Experts say that 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have fled their homes since non-Arab rebels took up arms in 2003.

    Khartoum says the scale of the fighting is exaggerated and that only 9,000 people have died.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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