November 27, 2008 / 1:23 AM / 11 years ago

Sudan government breaks Darfur ceasefire: U.N.'s Ban

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses participants at the launch of a national initiative to bring peace to Darfur, in Khartoum October 16, 2008. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday he was disappointed that Sudan’s government was still conducting military activity in Darfur in violation of a ceasefire and urged restraint from all sides.

Ban’s office said in a statement Darfur’s joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force had investigated reports of air strikes by the Sudanese government from November 21 to November 22 in Abu Dangal in South Darfur.

“(They) confirmed visible effects of air strikes, including four craters created by bombing and the presence of unexploded ordnance on the ground,” the statement said.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his call for all parties to use restraint and renew their commitment to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire,” the statement said.

“The Secretary-General further expresses his disappointment that military activity by the government continues in Darfur, particularly in light of the 12 November announcement of an immediate ceasefire by the government.”

UNAMID peacekeepers said on Sunday a delegation from an arm of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) had reported that government forces and state-backed militias attacked its post in Abu Dangal on Friday, and bombed the area the next day.

The five-year-old Darfur conflict, international experts say, has killed 200,000 people and driven 2.5 million from their homes. Khartoum says only 10,000 have died.

The latest reported violence came just over a week after Sudan’s president announced an “immediate and unconditional” ceasefire in the western region.

Sudan is stepping up diplomatic efforts to block a move by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to indict President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of orchestrating war crimes in Darfur.

Reporting by Claudia Parsons; Editing by David Storey

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