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Sudan: Darfur Rebels Call for UN to Replace African Union Force

One of the two main rebel groups in Sudan's Darfur region has demanded a United Nations force to replace African Union troops in the troubled region.

The leader of the Justice and Equality Movement, Khalil Ibrahim, said Thursday the AU force has failed to protect civilians in Darfur or disarm pro-government Arab militias known as the Janjaweed. In an interview with Reuters news agency, he said his group will not return to peace talks in Nigeria unless the United Nations takes over as lead mediator from the African Union.

This latest round of AU-sponsored talks broke off this week with both the rebels and the government accusing each other of violating a cease-fire agreement.

The African Union has sent some 800 troops to Darfur to protect cease-fire monitors, but they are not mandated to protect civilians or to intervene in fighting.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, Reuters.