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Darfur Rebels Call on International Community to Help Stop Attacks


Rebels in Sudan's Darfur region say attacks on civilians by government forces and Janjaweed militias are continuing. They have called on the international community to put a stop to violence against civilians.

At least 50 people are reported to have been killed in recent days in attacks by the Sudanese government and Janjaweed militias in Darfur.

Jar El Naby, a commander with the rebel Sudan Liberation Army, told VOA by phone from Darfur that at least five people had been killed Wednesday in attacks in Bir Maza northern Darfur, including a young boy.

"Janjaweed militia and government troops attacked area of Bir Mazza, yesterday at one o'clock. First they attacked the area [with] 200 Janjaweed militia [on] horse and camels and killed more civilians," he said.

El Naby called on the international community to stop attacks on civilians.

"We want to demand from the international community and especially the U.N. to save our civilians because this situation made our civilians in the northern area be in danger," he said. "The situation of civilians is very bad in this area."

Officials from the United Nations Security Council, the African Union, the European Union and the Arab League opened talks in Addis Ababa Thursday, to discuss peacekeeping operations in Darfur.

Sudan has refused to allow the United Nations to take over in the war-torn region, from a struggling AU mission.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has proposed a hybrid force operating under joint command of the U.N. and the AU.

Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha hinted on Wednesday that Sudan may accept more logistical support from the U.N.

But Taha added that Sudan would not agree to U.N. command of any force in Darfur.

Several widely-publicized attacks on Darfuri civilians, including young children, have drawn international outrage in recent weeks.

Sudan claims it is trying to disarm nomadic Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, but observers disagree.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when rebels attacked government positions, complaining that the region remained undeveloped due to neglect by the Khartoum government.

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

Tens of thousands have died and more than 2 million people have been displaced in Darfur and eastern Chad.