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Sudan: violence continues in Darfur region after peace talks open in Nigeria

16 September 2005 The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) today said violence against civilians in western Sudan’s Darfur region continues, despite the opening of the sixth round of peace talks between representatives of the Government of Sudan and those of Darfur’s rebels in Nigeria’s capital.

With the Declaration of Principles on political issues already signed, the African Union (AU)-mediated talks were to focus on power-sharing, wealth-sharing and security arrangements with the goal of concluding a comprehensive peace agreement.

Meanwhile, UNMIS said it had received reports that armed tribesmen had killed three people in a village in north Darfur and that four women had been raped in south Darfur. In south Darfur, too, 20 men ambushed two trucks contracted by the UN, severely injuring one of the two drivers, it said.

Fighting broke out in Muslim Darfur, an arid western region of Sudan, in February 2003 when two rebel groups – the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM) – rebelled against the Arab-led Khartoum government, claiming discrimination in the distribution of resources. The conflict, in which the Janjaweed Arab militia has terrorized the population, has claimed thousands of lives and displaced 2 million other people.

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