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Sudanese air strikes hit Darfur primary school


Latest update : 2008-05-05

Sudanese government air strikes killed at least 14 civilians in three days of bombardment in North Darfur, including a raid on a busy market and a primary school.

KHARTOUM, May 5 (Reuters) - Sudanese government bombs have
hit a primary school and a busy market place in Darfur, killing
at least 13 people, including seven children, two aid
organisations said on Monday.

The Sudanese army was not immediately available to comment
but has repeatedly denied bombing in the area, which would be a
violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution banning all
offensive flying.

The aid groups said a government Antonov plane bombed the
village of Shegeg Karo in North Darfur on Sunday. If confirmed,
it would be the deadliest bombing raid in Darfur in years.

"According to information gathered by the villagers of
Shegeg Karo, the Antonov hovered for a long time and then bombed
repeatedly," a joint statement from Darfur Diaries and the
Darfur Peace and Development Organisation said.

"The Shegeg Karo school was hit and one classroom was
destroyed. It was in session," it added. The youngest child to
die was 5-year-old Yusuf Adam Hamid. It said two other children
were seriously wounded and 30 more lightly wounded.

Both organisations fund the primary school of 238 students.

The groups said the market was also hit with six people
reported killed and 20 shops destroyed. They said it was unclear
how many people were wounded at the market place. Hundreds of
women usually gather there on market day.

Last week, a joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission
confirmed rebel reports of bombing in North Darfur in spite of
government denials.



On Monday UNAMID force commander Martin Luther Agwai issued
a statement expressing deep concern at the "rising toll of
civilian deaths and casualties as a result of the recent bombing
of villages in Darfur."

It called the reported bombing raids: "unacceptable acts
against civilians, compounding the extent of displacement,
insecurity and untold human suffering."

UNAMID said it was mobilising its helicopters to evacuate
the injured.

Darfur rebels said three other areas were bombed on Sunday.
Ein Sirro and Jabel Medop in North Darfur and an area in West
Darfur near rebel-held Jabel Moun. There were no reports of

International experts estimate some 200,000 people have died
and 2.5 million been driven from their homes in five years of
revolt in Darfur. Khartoum blames the Western media for
exaggerating the conflict and puts the death toll at 10,000.

Deployment of the peacekeeping force, set to become the
world's biggest, has been slow.

A May 2006 peace deal was signed by one of three rebel
negotiating factions. But little has been done to implement the
deal while insecurity has worsened because of infighting between
rebel factions.

Minni Arcua Minnawi, a former rebel who signed the 2006 and
became a presidential assistant, said he was suspending
participation in the government for one day in protest at the
lack of political will from President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's

"The government is not serious and not committed to the
peace deal," said a Minnawi spokesman, al-Tayyib Khamis.

Sudan is asking donor nations meeting in Norway this week
for $6 billion over the next three years to help rebuild after
decades of civil wars. A 2005 peace deal ended war between north
and south, but did not cover Darfur.

Date created : 2008-05-05