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Rights Group Says Images Prove Sudan Razed Villages

  • VOA News

A leading human rights group says recent satellite images show the destruction of several villages in Sudan's Central Darfur state.

Human Rights Watch says the April attacks in the town of Abu Jeradil and surrounding villages led to the death of at least 42 people and the displacement of more than 30,000 others.

The group says analysis of before-and-after satellite photos found that nearly 3,000 buildings, including homes and shops, were burnt down in the area.

HRW says villagers who fled the area blamed the attack on Sudanese government forces, including militia leader Ali Kosheib.

Kosheib is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed in West Darfur in 2003 and 2004. He currently holds a high ranking position in Sudan's Central Reserve Police.

HRW's Africa Director Daniel Bekele said Sudanese authorities should immediately rein in pro-government forces and hold those responsible for serious abuses to account. He also called on the government to immediately surrender Kosheib to the ICC.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is also wanted by the ICC for crimes against civilians in Darfur, rejects the court's authority.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International accused the Sudanese military of using "scorched earth" tactics against civilians in Blue Nile, another state where rebels are fighting the government.

That report cites witnesses as saying Sudanese forces attacked villages, looted valuable possessions, and then systematically set fire to houses.
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