August 1, 2006

Darfur rebels kill, rape to enforce deal: Amnesty

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Darfur rebels who signed a peace deal
with the government killed and raped civilians to try to force
them to support the unpopular accord, human rights group
Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

The African Union-brokered deal was signed in May by only
one of three rebel factions -- the Minni Arcua Minnawi group.
Tens of thousands of Darfuris have protested against the deal,
saying it does not meet their demands.

"Some 72 people were killed, 103 injured and 39 women raped
in targeted attacks against civilians in the Korma region,"
said Amnesty in a statement.

The attacks were at the beginning of July in Korma, about
70 km (45 miles) north west of el-Fasher, Darfur's main town.
Around 8,000 people fled their homes, emptying Korma.

"The attackers were members of the Minni Minnawi faction of
the armed political group the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA),
reportedly supported by the Sudan armed forces and the
Janjaweed," London-based Amnesty said.

Since signing the deal, Minnawi's troops have repeatedly
been accused of imprisoning and torturing Darfuris who oppose
it. Minnawi denies the reports.

But a U.N. helicopter in June airlifted elderly SLA
official Suleiman Adam Jamous out of Minnawi's stronghold in
Darfur where he had been imprisoned for weeks. Jamous had
opposed Minnawi's leadership and the deal.

Amnesty further said a 7,000-strong AU force had not
protected civilians and had not investigated the violence.

Some other rebel groups accuse the AU of losing its
neutrality by housing Minnawi in their headquarters in el-
Fasher, flying him in AU helicopters on demand around Darfur
and allowing his troops to drive AU vehicles in el-Fasher town.

Amnesty said civilians had reported the attacks to the AU
force on July 5, but the SLA had opposed the AU going to Korma.
Only an AU outpost in nearby Tawila had gone to Korma but it
had not issued its findings.

SLA officials were not immediately reachable and an AU
spokesman was unable to immediately comment on the report.

Tens of thousands have been killed and 2.5 million forced
from their homes during more than three years of conflict in