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Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Sunday, 25 January 2009

Darfur rebels condemn bombing

Darfur rebels
Rebels say they will work for peace with Sudan's government

Rebels and peacekeepers in Darfur have accused Sudan's government of bombing the town of Muhajiriya.

At least 1,000 civilians have fled from their homes in the rebel-held town because of the bombing, rebels and peacekeepers in the region say.

Peacekeepers in Darfur confirmed the attacks, saying the bombing killed at least one child and burnt many homes.

Air attacks are forbidden in Sudan under the terms of a peace deal between the government and some rebel groups.

However, earlier this month Sudan's military did admit carrying out bombings in the Darfur region.

A Sudanese army spokesman said they had targeted rebels who had failed to back the ceasefire announced in November.

After the latest attacks, a spokesman for the joint UN/African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur said the civilians who fled Saturday's bombings were taking refuge near the peacekeeping base outside the town.

New plans

However, a spokesman for the Jem rebels, Gibriel Fediel, also told the BBC that his movement has now outlined a strategy for bringing peace to Darfur.

Map

Mr Fediel said the strategy had been presented to the US and called for a comprehensive peace process.

Among its proposals were calls for a meeting with the Sudanese government to discuss confidence-building measures including more protection for displaced people, the release of prisoners of war, guarantees of aid supplies and the end to bombing.

It would also include a declaration of intent from both sides, committing themselves to peace, agreement on the main planks of a deal and an end to hostilities by both sides.

The US was to present these proposals to the Sudanese government, Mr Fediel said, although nothing had yet been heard in response.

Inclusive peace

Mr Fediel said the Jem wanted the process to include other movements, with clear criteria for deciding which groups had real support in Darfur.

Even groups like the faction of the Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Minawi - which has already made its peace with the Sudanese government - should be included in any final settlement, he added.

"Minni is part of the people of Darfur," Mr Fediel said. "Even those who did not take arms, or those fought against us, or who chose to make peace with the government ahead of us are not going to be excluded."

Senior government officials have said they have intelligence to suggest that Jem would launch a series of attacks ahead of an International Criminal Court (ICC) ruling.

Judges at the ICC in The Hague are expected to make a decision by the end of January about issuing an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir.

In May last year Jem attacked the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and its twin town of Omdurman, taking parts of the cities before driven out by government forces.

Mr Fediel warned that the Sudanese government might declare a state of emergency if the ICC issued the warrant, and said that his movement did not rule out a further assault on the capital if this was required.

"The option is open if the government misbehaves. We have to protect our people," Mr Fediel said.



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