GENEVA, (Reuters) – United Nations human rights monitors on Friday accused Sudan’s military of dropping bombs on villages in North Darfur, killing and injuring civilians and driving many from their homes.
“Civilians in villages in North Darfur are forced to flee due to indiscriminate aerial bombardment by government aircraft who are waging a campaign against movements that haven’t signed the peace agreement,” Jose-Luis Diaz, U.N. human rights spokesman, told a briefing.
“People are usually attributing the aeriel bombardment to this now infamous white plane or planes that drop bombs on villages in what is reported to be an indiscriminate manner, causing civilians to flee and causing death and injury,” he said.
U.N. rights monitors also reported rapes and other sexual violence around camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Darfur, particularly near the town of Gereida, he added.
“This has become almost a cliche, women go outside of IDP camps to collect firewood or engage in commerce and they become vulnerable to attacks by what are said to be military personnel or militia,” he said.
On Thursday, the United Nations urged warring groups in Darfur to lay down their weapons during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to let relief workers operate in the country’s battered western region.
An estimated 200,000 people have died in Darfur since violence flared in 2003, and 2.5 million have been uprooted in the fighting between government forces, rebels and militias.