Amnesty International Urges Sudan to Probe Darfur Gold Clash

Sudan must investigate claims that its security forces played a role in tribal fighting over gold-mining rights in the western region of Darfur that left as many as 200 people dead, Amnesty International said.

Fighting began Jan. 5 between members of Beni Hussein and Rizeigat tribes over rival claims to a gold-rich area in Beni Hussein territory in northern Darfur, the London-based human-rights group said today in a statement. Local residents said the instigators of the violence included officers of the Border Intelligence Brigade, part of Sudan’s military intelligence, according to Amnesty.

“The Sudanese government should immediately investigate the reports that its security officers are involved in attacks against civilians and ensure they are not involved in any further attacks,” Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty’s Africa director, said in the statement.

The fighting left more than 100 dead and forced more than 70,000 civilians to flee their homes, the United Nations said Jan. 16. One witness said 53 residents of Martam Bay village were killed on Jan. 9 by a group that included border guards, according to Amnesty.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Al-Obeid Murawih said the ministry normally didn’t comment on reports by Amnesty. “Our policy in the foreign office is only to comment on UN reports,” he said by phone.

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