Kofi Annan criticised the Sudanese government yesterday for failing to halt attacks on civilians in Darfur and called for an expanded international force to be dispatched quickly to the troubled region. In a report to the United Nations Security Council, which will decide in the coming days whether to impose sanctions against Khartoum, the secretary general concluded that "attacks against civilians are continuing and the vast majority of armed militias have not been disarmed." Sudan was supposed to have complied with the UN demands by last Monday and Mr Annan called for an all-African force to be expanded as quickly as possible to provide a security environment in which refugees feel it is safe to return home. The Sudanese government's crackdown against black African farmers who rebelled over land and resources 18 months ago has forced 1.3 million people from their homes and left up to 50,000 dead. "Most of the targeted violence resulted from a scorched-earth policy which was adopted by armed militias," Mr Annan said. One hundred thousand people have fled across the border into Chad, publishes NEWS. NYTimes informs that Secretary General Kofi Annan said today that the government of Sudan had failed to keep commitments to rein in the militias terrorizing the country's Darfur region and that a large international force was required there as soon as possible. "Attacks against civilians are continuing and the vast majority of armed militias has not been disarmed," Mr. Annan said in a sternly worded report to the Security Council. An estimated 50,000 black Africans have been killed and 1.2 million have been displaced by marauding Arab Janjaweed militias armed and encouraged by the government in Khartoum in a campaign of razing villages, destroying crops and poisoning water supplies that the United Nations has characterized as ethnic cleansing and the United States Congress has called genocide. Today's report used the term "scorched earth policy." Mr. Annan said that the Sudanese government had not supplied the United Nations with the names of any militia leaders and had offered no evidence of trying to disarm them or curb their violence. There was also evidence, he said, that authorities were arresting common criminals and calling them Janjaweed to appear to be in compliance. To back up his recommendation of a stepped-up international presence "as quickly as possible," Mr. Annan said that the United Nations had prepared a blueprint for the substantial enlargement of the African Union monitoring force already there. Its present complement is 380 military observors and troops, and diplomats say that a force of up to 3,000 is being contemplated. The Sudanese government and Darfur rebels made their first progress in peace talks in Nigerian capital late Wednesday, and will move on to the crucial security issue on Thursday. On the eighth day into the African Union sponsored talks, the parties reached their first agreement in humanitarian aid in the troubled region of Darfur, where more than 10,000 were killed and over one million displaced since the start of conflict 18 months ago, reports Xinhuanet. The leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement, Ahmed Mohammed Tugod said the parties "came to the agreement on protocolon humanitarian issues... We will continue tomorrow (Thursday) on security issues."
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