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African Union: Rebels Attacking Civilians in Southern Darfur


African Union officials in Sudan say a Darfur rebel group that signed a peace deal with the government is attacking civilians in the southern part of Darfur.

The A.U. says Sudan Liberation Army rebels are targeting civilians in the town of Gereida, which lies next to a major refugee camp. An A.U. spokesman, Noureddine Mezni, tells VOA the rebels are looting the town and raping women after driving away most of its male residents.

Britain's Guardian newspaper reports the violence began last week, with SLA rebels fighting another rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement. The paper says aid workers have fled the area. The A.U. says at least 11 people have been killed, mostly civilians.

The JEM is one of two rebel factions that refused to accept the Darfur peace agreement signed in May.

Separately, a Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Fadlalla Ibrahim, says Khartoum will not grant an unlimited extension to the A.U. peacekeeping mission in Darfur. The mission expires in December.

Earlier, U.N. envoy to Sudan Jan Pronk had proposed that A.U. forces remain in Darfur indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mussa said Monday that Arab states should honor their pledges to provide more assistance to Darfur. Mussa was speaking on a visit to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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