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U.N. reports air strike in Sudan's Darfur region

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Tue, 3 Apr 2012 20:46 GMT
Author: Reuters
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KHARTOUM, April 3 (Reuters) - An air strike almost hit a village in Sudan's Western region of Darfur, international peacekeepers said on Tuesday, the latest apparent attack by the government in the troubled region.

Mainly African tribes took up arms against the government in Khartoum in 2003, complaining of political and economic marginalisation in the remote region.

Violence has ebbed from the 2003/04 peak but fighting still occurs as several rounds of peace talks have failed, hampered by rebel divisions and ongoing military operations.

An Antonov aircraft - a plane widely used by the Sudanese army - apparently dropped a bomb that almost hit Samara village in North Darfur, Susan Manuel, spokeswomen for African Union/U.N. peacekeepers UNAMID said.

"A patrol went to the site after spotting an Antonov plane. They found two craters," she said, adding that nobody had been injured in the air strike on Sunday.

Sudanese army spokesman Sawarmi Khalid Saad could not be reached on his mobile phone for comment.

Khartoum mobilised troops and allied Arab tribes to quell the rebellion in 2003, unleashing a wave of violence that the United Nations and other observers estimate may have killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The International Criminal Court has indicted Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other top officials for war crimes in the region.

Khartoum has put the death toll at 10,000 and dismissed accusations of war crimes as politically motivated and baseless.

Last year, Khartoum signed a peace deal with smaller rebel groups, but major rebel groups refused to sign. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing and Khalid Abdelaziz)

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