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Amnesty: Darfur rights situation dire

14 March 2014, 06:58

Khartoum - The human rights situation in Sudan's Darfur region remains dire as civilians continue to bear the brunt of abuses, 11 years after conflict broke out there, Amnesty International said on Friday.

"Ongoing impunity in Darfur has ensured that perpetrators of human rights abuses have no incentive to stop and has encouraged others to commit similar abuses," said Michelle Kagari, the London-based watchdog's East Africa deputy director.

"The international community must step up efforts to ensure accountability", she said as Amnesty released a report documenting "deliberate targeting of civilians accompanied by looting, rape and murder."

The report describes how fighting between the Salamat and Misseriya tribes in Central Darfur state left entire communities homeless and scores dead or injured.

Eyewitnesses described large attacks targeting civilians and carried out by militias, including Sudanese paramilitaries, Amnesty said.

"The Sudanese authorities must immediately rein in paramilitary forces" and hold to account those responsible for serious abuses, Kagari said.

Worsening crime

The battles between Salamat and Misseriya were among many inter-communal clashes in Darfur last year, when conflict uprooted 380 000 people.

That was more than in any year since 2004 at the height of the Darfur conflict, the United Nations has said.

Rebel-government clashes are no longer the main source of violence in Darfur, where insurgents from black tribes began an uprising against the country's Arab elites in 2003.

Over the past two years, Sudan's deteriorating economy has led to worsening crime and intercommunal tribal clashes, a February report by the UN chief Ban Ki-moon said.

Some cash-poor paramilitaries have joined the tribal fighting over gold and other resources, the report said.

Analysts say the government can no longer control its former Arab tribal allies, whom it armed against the insurgents.

- AFP

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