73 villagers killed, rebel group says

From Times Wire Reports

A Sudanese rebel group accused government troops and affiliated militias of killing 73 people in attacks on a cluster of villages in the Darfur region, an accusation the army denied.

Ibrahim Helu, a commander in one faction of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army, said a large number of government troops and militiamen had attacked 11 villages in the Sires Umm Qura area of northern Darfur over the preceding three days.

“They killed more than 73 civilians.... People are fleeing the area,” said the commander, whose faction rejected a 2006 Darfur peace deal.