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Archive for Monday, January 22, 2007

Rebels leaders blame government for attacks

January 22, 2007

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— Government planes breached a cease-fire by bombing villages in northern Darfur, rebel commanders said Sunday as the U.S. called on Sudan to let insurgent factions meet to discuss having joint peace talks with the regime.

Reports on the bombings, which could not be independently confirmed, came days after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir vowed to adhere to a truce brokered by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and others during a visit earlier this month.

Sudan's military spokesman denied the government conducted any bombings, which would violate the new cease-fire as well as a May peace accord between the government and one rebel group, and several U.N. Security Council resolutions.

"We never bombard civilians anywhere," the spokesman said on condition of anonymity in accordance with army policy.

A field commander for the rebel Justice and Equality Movement said the Sudanese air force bombed several areas near Hashaba and Ein Sirro from Friday to Sunday. Abdallah Banda, whose group is one of several factions that rejected the May accord, said three villages were destroyed but he could not confirm reports of more than a dozen casualties.

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