'We didn't loot... We didn't rape': Sudan commander

2014-05-14 19:46
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Khartoum - Leaders of a Sudanese counter-insurgency unit on Wednesday dismissed accusations that their men committed abuses in Darfur.

"We didn't loot. We didn't burn any villages. We didn't rape," General Abbas Abdelaziz, who heads the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), told reporters.

"All the allegations against us are lies," an angry Mohammed Hamdan Dalgo, the unit's field commander, shouted.

They held the press conference a day after newspapers reported that Sudan's powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has filed a criminal complaint against former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, who heads a major opposition party, Umma.

Newspapers said NISS accused Mahdi of releasing false information about the RSF to reporters last week.

NISS, which has authority over the RSF, accused Mahdi of crimes including threatening public peace.

He reportedly accused the unit of arson and other violence against civilians, and of including "non-Sudanese" in its ranks.

The RSF role has also come under scrutiny by the European Union and Unamid, the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

Unamid chief Mohamed Ibn Chambas told the UN Security Council more than a month ago that the activities of the RSF were of "particular concern" as violence rose to alarming levels in Darfur this year.

"They have perpetrated attacks on communities," Chambas said.

European Union ambassador Tomas Ulicny told AFP last month that "we should be concerned" about the role of the RSF.

"It's the rebels who are destroying water resources, burning villages and committing race-based killings. Then they try to put the blame on us," said Abdelaziz, wearing a uniform with an NISS shoulder patch.

Read more on:    unamid  |  sudan  |  east africa
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