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UN Warns of Janjaweed Forces Assembling in Darfur

21 February 2007

The United Nations has warned that Arab militia are assembling in large numbers in a western part of Sudan's war-torn Darfur region.

In reports this week, the U.N. Mission to Sudan said the fighters are suspected to be Janjaweed, the militia blamed for numerous cases of rape, arson, and killing during the four-year Darfur conflict. The U.N. said the militias were assembling north of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state. It said the reason for the gathering is not clear.

The U.N. and other international organizations have accused Sudan's government of arming the Janjaweed to aid its campaign against Darfur rebels. Sudan denies the accusations.

On Tuesday, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir traveled to Libya for talks on ending the Darfur crisis.

Sudan's official news agency says the president will meet with Darfur rebels who refused to join a peace deal the government signed with the largest rebel group last year.

The fighting in Darfur has killed at least 200,000 people and driven more than two million others from their homes. President Bashir has resisted allowing U.N. peacekeepers into Darfur.

The U.N. has proposed sending up to 20,000 troops to strengthen an African Union mission that has not been able to control the violence.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.


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