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African Union says Militia Attacks on Civilians Continue in Darfur

The African Union says a series of deadly militia attacks on civilians has continued in Sudan's embattled Darfur region. The United Nations has called on the Sudanese government to bring the attackers to justice.

The African Union says at least 30 civilians were killed and 40 others wounded when unknown armed militias attacked Sirba village in western Darfur, Saturday.

Saturday's violence is the latest in a series of widely condemned attacks on civilians, believed to have been committed by Sudanese government-backed Arab militias, known as "janjaweed."

The A.U. tells VOA that the attackers could not be identified, adding the A.U. is conducting an investigation into the incident.

U.N. spokeswoman Rhadia Achouri tells VOA the United Nations wants the attackers to be brought to justice.

"What it important for us is, whoever they are -- janjaweed, unknown armed militia, tribal militia, whoever they are -- they are not supposed to do what they are doing," Achouri says. "They are supposed to be stopped by the government and by the authorities of the country. Attacking civilians is attacking civilians."

Earlier this month, an attack on civilians in Darfur drew international outrage, after the United Nations reported 27 children had been killed by janjaweed militias.

Sudan has denied arming the janjaweed and insists it is attempting to disarm the militias.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Tuesday the United Nations will propose to Sudan a hybrid U.N./A.U. force in Darfur.

Sudan has refused to allow the A.U. to transfer its mission to the U.N., but has indicated that it will allow the United Nations to provide financial and logistical support to the struggling A.U. mission.

Observers say such a compromise may be the only way to prevent more bloodshed in the region.

The African Union is meeting in Addis Ababa, this week, to discuss ways to enhance its mission in Darfur.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003, when rebels attacked government positions, complaining that the remote region remained undeveloped because of neglect by the central government.

Sudan is charged with arming Arab nomads to crush the rebellion, using a savage campaign of rape and murder.

Tens of thousands of people have died and some two million more have been displaced in Darfur and eastern Chad.