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Reports: Sudanese Troops Attack Rebel-Held Town in Darfur


Rebels in Sudan's Darfur region say government forces and allied militia on Monday attacked a southern town held by the only rebel faction to sign a peace deal with the government.

Leaders of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army say the attack on Muhajeria included aerial bombings by government planes.

The town is a base for the SLA faction led by Minni Minawi, which signed a peace deal with the Sudanese government in May 2006.

Muhajeria is located about 60 kilometers west of Haskanita, a town that the United Nations says was burned down within the past few days.

The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum strongly condemned the destruction of Haskanita and called on all parties to immediately end the cycle of violence in Darfur, and adhere to a cease-fire ahead of upcoming peace talks.

The U.N. did not assign blame for the fire but noted that Haskanita is under the control of Sudanese government forces. The Sudanese army is denying that its forces destroyed the town.

Haskanita was burned about a week after gunmen assaulted a nearby African Union peacekeeping base, killing 10 soldiers. AU and Sudanese officials blame Darfur rebel fighters for that attack, while rebels blame the government.

Since 2003, an estimated 200,000 people have been killed, more than two million others displaced, and hundreds of villages have been destroyed in fighting in Darfur among government forces, militias and rebels.

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

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