UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
December 21, 2005
Posted to the web December 21, 2005
Militias riding on camels and horses attacked Abu Sarouj village in the West Darfur state of Sudan on Monday, killing 20 people and wounding 16 others, according to a United Nations official in the area.
"The attackers also burnt 50 shelters, temporarily displacing several thousand people," Andy Pendleton, the West Darfur coordinator for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told IRIN on Wednesday.
Fifteen men, three women and two children were killed. Two of the victims were burnt alive when their homes were torched. Those wounded included five policemen, Pendleton added.
On Tuesday, hundreds of people affected by the raid on Abu Sarouj brought the bodies of the victims to the provincial hospital in West Darfur's capital, El-Geneina, where the crowd ran riot and stoned a policeman to death.
"Hundreds of people gathered to protest the insecurity and beat people at random," said Pendleton. The demonstrators also stoned and damaged vehicles, including one belonging to the African Union's mission in Darfur and another owned by the UN.
Pendleton said the situation in Abu Sarouj appeared calm on Wednesday and that those who had fled the village had returned.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan strongly condemned attack on Abu Sarouj and urged the Sudanese government to take immediate measures to prevent further attacks, to protect its civilian population and to pursue those responsible.
"The perpetrators of this and other attacks against civilians must be brought to justice," said a spokesman for the Secretary-General.
Annan also condemned all recent clashes, instances of banditry and intertribal fighting in Darfur and called on the parties to the conflict to respect their agreements and the provisions of international humanitarian law, and to accelerate their efforts to reach an early, negotiated settlement in peace talks currently underway in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
The Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003 when rebels took up arms to fight "discrimination and oppression" by the Sudanese government. The government is accused of unleashing militia on civilians in an attempt to quash the rebellion. At least 3.4 million people have been affected by the conflict.