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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 April, 2005, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Darfur village rampage shocks UN
The UN and African Union have condemned with "disbelief" a village rampage by militiamen in Sudan's Darfur region.

They said 350 militiamen torched all but two buildings in Khor Abeche, 75km (47 miles) from Nyala on Thursday.

The organisations named Nasir al-Tijani as the militia leader and demanded action from Sudan's government.

A two-year conflict between Sudanese pro-government Arab militias and black African rebels has left at least 180,000 people dead in Darfur.

Cattle revenge

The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Khartoum says reports speak of 17 people killed in the raid by militiamen riding horses and camels.

A joint statement by the UN and African Union said: "We condemn this senseless and premeditated savage attack."

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It said the militiamen "rampaged through the village killing, burning and destroying everything in their paths and leaving in their wake total destruction with only the mosque and the school spared".

The statement said the raid appeared to be in revenge for villagers allegedly stealing 150 cattle.

Mr Tijani had also accused a rival militia of failing to return the bodies of two of his men killed in an earlier raid, it said.

The organisations said the militia leader had previously threatened to destroy the village but the government had not taken steps to prevent it.

The naming of Mr Tijani comes after the UN Security Council voted recently to refer those believed guilty of war crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

That decision sparked protests in Khartoum. Sudan says it can bring war criminals to justice.

The attack was the worst since a raid on the village of Hamada in January in which about 100 people died.

The Darfur conflict began in February 2003, when Sudanese rebels of African origin took up arms against the government.

Khartoum is alleged to have armed Arab militiamen to fight the rebels.

The fighting has displaced about 1.8 million people.


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