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Darfur attack wounds Sudan war crimes suspect

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A suspect wanted for war crimes in Sudan's Darfur has been left wounded after an attack which reportedly killed two of his men, sources in the region's largest city Nyala said on Monday.

Ali Kushayb, a former commander of the feared Janjaweed militia, was attacked on Sunday during battles in the city, which state officials blamed on "differences" between members of the security forces.

"It's Kushayb who was injured," one source said, referring to the man who is wanted by the International Criminal Court.

"Not sure what the injuries are," but Kushayb was to be transferred to Khartoum, the source added, asking for anonymity.

The urban warfare which first erupted in Nyala on Wednesday night has killed at least eight people and wounded more than 20, according to official media.

Among the dead are two Sudanese workers from the aid group World Vision.

As a result of the fighting, food aid to an estimated 400,000 needy people in the area will be disrupted, the World Food Programme said.

Kushayb was hurt as residents ran for their lives during fresh fighting and looting in Nyala on Sunday.

The state-run Radio Omdurman reported late Sunday that Kushayb "was saved from assassination" but did not say he was wounded.

His driver and guard were killed, the report said.

Kushayb is wanted by The Hague-based ICC for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed earlier in the decade-long Darfur conflict.

On Sunday afternoon, a witness saw an ambulance under police guard at the Nyala hospital, where onlookers said an "important person" was to be transferred to Khartoum.

A Nyala resident said the city was calm on Monday but "many shops have been looted and burned."

The violence adds to what the United Nations says is a worsening security situation in Sudan's vast western region.

Fighting in Nyala was sparked when security forces allegedly killed a notorious local bandit who was also an officer in the paramilitary Central Reserve Police.

Darfuri members of the Reserve formerly belonged to the Janjaweed, a government-backed militia which shocked the world with atrocities against ethnic minority civilians suspected of supporting rebels.

The ethnic minority rebels began their uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime in 2003.

Security problems have been compounded by inter-tribal fighting, kidnappings, carjackings and other crimes, many suspected to be the work of government-linked militia and paramilitary groups.

In February, a UN panel of experts reported "some incidents in which former members of government militias have forcibly expressed their discontent with the current government, especially against the backdrop of rising inflation and unemployment".

it/kir

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130708/darfur-attack-wounds-sudan-war-crimes-suspect-0