21 December 2005

Secretary-General Strongly Condemns Murderous Attack in Darfur

NEW YORK, 20 December (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement is attributable to the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the vicious attack on Abu Sarouj, a village in West Darfur, which occurred yesterday morning.  Twenty people are reported to have been brutally murdered, including several women and children, in an attack involving several hundred armed militia who also burned dozens of huts and looted livestock.

The Secretary-General urges the Government of the Sudan to take immediate measures to prevent further attacks, protect its civilian population, and to pursue those responsible. The perpetrators of this and other attacks against civilians must be brought to justice.

The Secretary-General further condemns all the violent clashes, instances of banditry and inter-tribal fighting that have continued in Darfur in recent days.  He calls on the parties to the conflict in the strongest terms to respect their agreements and the provisions of international humanitarian law, and to accelerate their efforts to reach an early, negotiated settlement in Abuja.

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