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UN Says Darfur Town 'Completely Burned Down'

The United Nations says a town in Sudan's Darfur region has been burned to the ground, a week after a deadly attack on a nearby African Union peacekeeping base.

In a statement Sunday, the U.N. mission in Sudan said its investigators visited the town of Haskanita on Saturday and found it "completely burned down, except for a few buildings."

It said the civilian population fled the town last week after attackers assaulted the A.U. peacekeeping base and killed 10 soldiers.

The U.N. did not say who set fire to Haskanita but noted that the town is under the control of Sudanese government forces.

There has been no comment from the Sudanese government or military.

Sudanese and A.U. officials have blamed fighters from Darfur rebel groups for the September 29th attack on the A.U. peacekeeping base in Haskanita. No group has claimed responsibility for that attack, which resulted in the largest loss of life for the A.U. force since it deployed to Darfur in 2004.

Government forces and Arab militias have been accused of burning ethnic African villages as part of their campaign against the Darfur rebels.

An estimated 200,000 people have been killed and more than two million others displaced since the rebels began their uprising against the Sudanese government in 2003.

Peace talks are scheduled to begin October 27 in Libya's capital, Tripoli.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.