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Several said dead in air raid in Sudan's Darfur: peacekeepers

File picture shows a young boy walking past a United Nations peace keeper in the North Darfur state capital of El-Fasher, on June 17, 2013
File picture shows a young boy walking past a United Nations peace keeper in the North Darfur state capital of El-Fasher, on June 17, 2013

Several people have been reported killed in an air strike in Sudan's volatile Darfur region, international peacekeepers said Saturday.

"UNAMID has received information from local sources that several people were killed by an alleged air strike while travelling from Tabit to Shangil Tobaya," a public information officer from the African Union-UN Mission in Darfur told AFP.

"The mission is working to ascertain the veracity of this incident" on Friday, the official said.

Sudan's military spokesman, Sawarmi Khaled Saad, said no aircraft had been used in that area, although rebels had been active nearby.

"There is no fighting there," he told AFP.

Shangil Tobaya is about 60 kilometres (40 miles) south of the North Darfur state capital El Fasher.

A UN panel of experts reported in February that "aerial bombardment continues to be used on civilian areas and/or to indiscriminately affect civilians" in Darfur, despite government denials.

In a 2005 resolution, the UN Security Council demanded that Sudan cease offensive military flights in Darfur.

Violence has worsened this year in the western region, where the government is battling a 10-year-old rebellion.

But Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein said in November that violence between tribes has eclipsed rebel activity as the main security threat.

The UNAMID peacekeepers have a mandate to protect civilians in the region.

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