Sudan: Ex Darfur rebels report govt attack - peacekeepers

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KHARTOUM, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Former Darfur rebels who signed a peace pact with Sudan's government accused state forces of raiding and bombing one of their positions, peacekeepers said on Sunday.

It was the latest in a series of reported clashes and attacks in Darfur just over a week after Sudan's president announced an "immediate and unconditional" ceasefire in the western region.

The accusations come as Sudan is stepping up diplomatic efforts to block a move by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to indict President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of orchestrating war crimes in Darfur.

Darfur's joint U.N./African UNAMID peacekeeping force said a delegation from an arm of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) reported that government forces and state-backed militias attacked its post in Abu Dangal, south Darfur on Friday.

The 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement, boycotted by other rebels groups, failed to bring an end to the conflict which, international experts say, has so far killed 200,000 and driven 2.5 million from their homes.

The former rebels reported "Janjaweed" militias stole 50 camels in the raid, said UNAMID in a statement and that two SLA fighters were also missing after the attack, it added.

"A day later they said they were bombed by jets," a UNAMID official told Reuters. He added UNAMID was planning to send a team to check the reported attack on the post about 125 kilometres (78 miles) northeast of Nyala the capital of south Darfur.

The UNAMID statement said the rebels who reported the attack were from the faction of the SLA led by Minni Arcua Minnawi, who became a special presidential assistant after signing a peace deal with the government in 2006.

No one was immediately available for comment from the SLA faction or from Sudan's armed forces.

Minnawi, while keeping his governmental position, has accused Khartoum of blocking the peace agreement and of attacking his troops in the past.

(Reporting by Andrew Heavens; Editing by Matthew Jones)

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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