UNAMID expresses concern over air strikes in Sudan's South Darfur State

10:52, May 18, 2011      

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The United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has expressed concern over air strikes that it said launched by the Sudanese Air Forces on Labado and Esheraya, located 30 km south of El Daein, in South Darfur.

"UNAMID Joint Special Representative (JSR) Ibrahim Gambari is deeply concerned over recent air strikes in South Darfur," said UNAMID in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Xinhua Tuesday.

"The aerial attacks, carried out Sunday by Sudanese Forces, affected the population of Labado town and Esheraya village," the statement said.

Gambari, meanwhile, urged all the parties to exercise utmost restraint in using lethal force.

"Civilians are invariably the real victims in any conflict. I call upon all parties to exercise the utmost restraint in the use of lethal force. All belligerents have the moral responsibility and obligation to respect humanitarian law and the rights of the innocent caught in the violence," said Gambari.

"While the number of casualties and possible displacements cannot yet be accurately determined, the Mission is nevertheless troubled at the actions carried out by the Sudanese Air Force," he added.

At present, the Mission is sending teams to the locations to investigate the incidents, said the statement.

In the meantime, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) denied that there were any clashes with any of Darfur armed rebel movements in the region during the past days.

"There were no battles in Darfur during the past period," said SAF spokesman Al-Sawarmy Khalid Saad in a statement.

He further denounced UNAMID statements which said the Sudanese air forces have launched air strikes in Darfur, saying that "the SAF is responsible for keeping the security and protecting the civilians in all parts f the country."

"The SAF maintains the full rights and military powers to fight and pursue the remnants of the armed rebel movements which are rejecting the peace process," he added.

The UNAMID on Monday evening issued a statement saying that the Sudanese air forces launched air strikes in Sudan's South Darfur State.

Source: Xinhua
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