Reports Sudan Fighting
The New York Times
May 2, 2004
CAIRO, May 1 (Reuters)
- The human rights group Amnesty International said late Friday
that fighting was persisting in western Sudan despite a cease-fire
between the government and rebels, and that time was running out
to avert a disaster among civilians before the rainy season.
The Sudanese government
and two main rebel factions in the west, the impoverished Darfur
region, signed a truce on April 8 to allow aid to reach about
one million people.
say rains are expected to start in late May and could hinder the
distribution of aid and medical supplies. Rebels took up arms
against the government in February 2003 to push for a larger share
of power and Sudan's resources.
Amnesty said, "Two
time bombs are ticking in Sudan in a countdown to disaster: the
approaching rainy season, which means that by June many areas
may be cut off from food and medical supplies from outside; and
the danger that a complete collapse of the cease-fire will lead
to an escalation of violations."
Attacks on villages,
indiscriminate and deliberate killings of civilians, rape and
lootings were continuing, Amnesty said.
Monitors from the
African Union designated to investigate cease-fire violations
were not in place, it added.
An official from
the Sudan Liberation Army, one of the two main rebel groups, said
Thursday that Arab militias from Darfur had crossed about six
miles into Chad and attacked refugees and local villages.
Rebels and others
accuse the government of arming the Arab militias, known locally
as janjaweed, to loot and burn African villages. The government
in Khartoum calls the militias outlaws.
international community puts maximum pressure to ensure that the
government militia are disarmed and removed from the region, the
conflict will worsen and spread," Amnesty said.
Amnesty said most
villages in Darfur had been destroyed.
United Nations officials have said the situation in Darfur is
one of the world's worst crises, with more than 110,000 refugees
camped in Chad.
The United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement on Friday that
its emergency relocation operation in eastern Chad had so far
moved 45,000 Sudanese refugees away from the insecure Chad-Sudan
border. It said it hoped to move at least 60,000 by the start
of the rainy season.