13-yr-old among 8 people killed by Sudan gunmen in Darfur

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Khartoum - Gunmen in military uniforms have killed eight people in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, residents and an NGO said Monday, as rebels accused the army of being behind the attack.

The shooting happened on Sunday in Nertiti in the Jabal Marra area, where sporadic clashes between the army and rebels have continued despite a government-announced unilateral ceasefire.

Ashafih al-Saleh, who heads an association that supports displaced people in Darfur, said: "Eight people, mostly women, were killed inside their homes."

He accused the army of carrying out the attack "to avenge the death of a soldier whose body was found" in Nertiti.

Resident Faisal Ashaq said his 13-year-old daughter was killed in the attack.

"Gunmen in military uniforms appeared suddenly in their four-wheel-drives, shooting with guns and machine guns screwed on to their vehicles," he said.

A medical source said around 60 people were wounded.

The Sudan Liberation Army - Minni Minnawi rebel group accused pro-government forces of conducting the attack.

A statement said "the attack contradicts" President Omar al-Bashir's decision on December 31 to extend by a month a unilateral ceasefire in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions.

"Bashir's decision is aimed at covering up the crimes committed by his militias, under his instructions," it added.

The conflict in Darfur - a region of the size of France - erupted in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Bashir's Arab-dominated government, accusing it of marginalising the region.

At least 300 000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in Darfur since the conflict first erupted in 2003, the UN says.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes and genocide charges related to Darfur, which he denies.

Sudan insists that the conflict in Darfur has ended.

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