Fresh killings in Darfur as Sudan prepares to send troops

KHARTOUM (AFP) – United Nations (UN) officials reported a fresh massacre of more than 60 people in Sudan’s West Darfur, as the country’s Prime Minister promised fresh troops for the conflict-stricken region.

Attackers targetted members of the local Masalit community, looting and burning houses and part of the local market, a statement said.

Around 500 armed men attacked Masteri Town, north of Beida, in Darfur last Saturday afternoon, said the Sunday statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“This was one of the latest of a series of security incidents reported over the last week that left several villages and houses burned, markets and shops looted, and infrastructure damaged,” said the statement, from the OCHA’s Khartoum office.

Following last Saturday’s attack on Masteri, around 500 local people staged a protest demanding more protection from the authorities.

On Sunday, Sudan Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said the government would send security forces to conflict-stricken Darfur to “protect citizens and the farming season”.

The force will include army and police, he said in a statement after he met a delegation of women from the region.

Darfur has been devastated since 2003 by a conflict between ethnic minority rebels and forces loyal to now ousted president Omar al-Bashir, including the feared Janjaweed militia.