Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Sunday, 26 April 2009 15:04 UK

Darfur rebels sentenced to death

Members of the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) in north-west Darfur. File photo
The unprecedented rebel attack on Khartoum left more than 200 dead

A Sudanese court has sentenced 11 Darfur rebels to death for an attack on Khartoum in 2008.

The members of the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) were found guilty of involvement in the unprecedented assault on the Sudanese capital.

Some 80 Jem members have already been sentenced to death for the attack, which left more than 200 people dead.

The Jem fighters drove across the desert to reach Khartoum and were only stopped near the presidential palace.

On Sunday, Judge Hafez Ahmed at the court in Khartoum found the 11 rebels guilty of terrorism and illegal possession of weapons, the AFP news agency reported.

"For their actions in terrorising the people, and threatening the foundation of the state... aggressive sentences are required," the judge told the courtroom.

Eight other men were acquitted.

The attack in May 2008 was the closest the rebels have ever been to Khartoum.

Local residents said the fighting lasted several hours.

Jem is currently the most significant fighting rebel force in Darfur.

In February, Jem signed a "declaration of intent" for a peaceful settlement of the war during talks with Sudan's government in Doha, Qatar.

But Jem is now refusing to return to the peace talks, accusing Khartoum of not honouring confidence-building accords.

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