Government aircraft bomb village in Darfur-rebels
KHARTOUM, April 19 (Reuters) – A Sudanese rebel group said government aircraft destroyed a village in northern Darfur in an air strike on Thursday, inflicting casualties. An army spokesman said he was not aware of such an attack.
Ibrahim al-Helu, a commander in the Sudan Liberation Army rebel faction, said the air strike totally destroyed the village of Jemmeiza.
"There are casualties but darkness is making it difficult to reach them or know their number," he told Reuters by telephone. "A lot of civilians have fled the village. Some have gone missing," he said.
Sudan’s government has strongly denied accusations made in a confidential United Nations report that it was flying weapons and other military equipment into the war-torn Darfur region in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The report said the government was using planes painted white to resemble U.N. aircraft to bomb and carry out surveillance of villages in Darfur.
"The government wants to establish peace in Darfur, not to ignite the conflict," Sudan’s official news agency quoted Presidential Adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail as saying.
The U.N. says at least 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced since the Darfur conflict flared in 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government, charging it with neglect. Khartoum says only 9,000 have died.