Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Sixty-two killed in Darfur tribal clash

AP , EL FASHER, SUDAN

Sixty-two people were killed in Darfur in a new spree of tribal fighting that struck this violence-plagued region in western Sudan, the African Union (AU) said on Wednesday.

The clashes occurred earlier this week in the Abu Gorgah sector of North Darfur where 11 villages were also looted, an AU report said.

AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni said the organization "condemns this fighting and calls on tribal leaders to avoid any further killing and destruction."

A team of African peacekeepers has been sent to the area to investigate the incident.

More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million made refugees in Darfur since 2003, when ethnically African rebels rose up against the Arab-dominated central government. Khartoum is accused of retaliating by arming local nomadic Arab tribes and unleashing militias known as the janjaweed on civilian populations.

The government denies this but the International Criminal Court in the Hague has accused a Sudanese Cabinet minister and a suspected Janjaweed chief of 51 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Intertribal clashes have claimed hundreds of lives in Darfur this year, often among nomad Arab tribes suspected of supplying the janjaweed troops and apparently increasingly fighting over the loot.

But if was not immediately clear whether the clashes on Monday between the Darruk and the Gimmir semi-nomadic tribes, were politically or ethnically motivated.

Fighting also occurred in southern Darfur in the past days, illustrating the growing chaos in the region despite a peace agreement.

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