The 500 men, suspected Arab militiamen known as the Janjaweed, swept through the village of Abu Sorouj in the Darfur region on Monday, killing the villagers and destroying and looting their houses, U.N. spokeswoman Radhia Achouri told reporters.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the attack, Achouri said, 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 5,000 people to flee their homes in southern Darfur to northern areas, Achouri said.
The African Union, which maintains 7,000 peacekeepers in Darfur, said it was "outraged" by the Abu Sorouj attack. An AU statement said the organization'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 Dec. 7 in Abuja, Nigeria, and another round is not expected before the new year. The AU urged Sudanese officials to ensure that the assailants "face the full force of the law."
Darfur's herders and farmers, split by years of skirmishes over land and water, took up arms in large-scale fighting in 2003. So far, the ensuing famine and disease have killed more than 180,000 people.
The Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, already accused of unfair distribution of wealth in the country, has been accused of unleashing the Janjaweed against the ethnic tribe members in Darfur