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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 17:31 GMT
Darfur attacks 'led by Khartoum'
Alleged Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal
Musa Hilal said Sudanese army commanders were involved
Evidence that Sudan's government is backing Arab militias in Darfur has come from a leader of the forces, US-based Human Rights Watch has said.

Musa Hilal, named by the US as a Janjaweed leader, told the group that militia attacks on ethnic Africans were directed by Sudanese army commanders.

"These people get their orders... from Khartoum," he said in an interview transcript released by the group.

The Sudanese government has strongly denied supporting the militias.

Human Rights Watch said Mr Hilal made the allegations during a videotaped interview in Arabic, conducted in September last year.

The group released part of the interview on Wednesday, saying that translation and formatting of the tape had delayed its publication.

War crimes

"All the people in the field are led by top army commanders," Mr Hilal told researchers during the interview.

"These people get their orders from the Western command centre and from Khartoum."

Mr Hilal is one of seven people accused by the US state department of being leaders of the Arab Janjaweed militia.

But in a BBC interview in November last year, he said he was simply a mayoral figure with no links with the military.

The Janjaweed are alleged to have killed thousands and used mass rape against non-Arab groups.

Sudan's government and the Arab militias are accused of war crimes against the region's black African population, although the United Nations has stopped short of terming it a genocide.

More than two million people are estimated to have fled their homes and at least 100,000 are thought to have died during the crisis.

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